Dear 100 Hour Board,
I've been eating a lot of pasta dishes lately and have gotten tired of the regular tomato, alfredo, or straight cheese. What are your favorite types of sauces?
-Donald Edward Goerke
I second pesto! It's the sauce of the gods. Lately my favorite pasta dish is bowtie pasta with pesto, sauteed mushrooms, sliced green olives, and arugula, with real parmesan cheese on top. It's super delicious and as far as pasta dishes go, definitely on the healthier side.
I also really like plain pasta just tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. It's super simple, but you can also add whatever other herbs you want and it can be pretty flavorful.
And finally, don't be sleeping on pasta salad. Just throw in some chopped vegetables, some type of cheese, and your meat of choice (most pasta salads work well with chicken or salami-type stuff), and then toss it with Italian salad dressing and serve cold.
Want to go crazy? Want to experience new levels of flavor? Try mixing your pasta sauces.
My two favorite sauces are pink sauce (tomato mixed with alfredo) and alfredo mixed with pesto. When you mix and match you get the best of both worlds.
Now go forth and paint with all the colors of the pasta!
Suggestion two: browned butter! If you want an official recipe, there's this one. If you don't care, well then:
1) Make your pasta. Salt that pasta water a bit before you put in the noodles.
2) While pasta is cooking, pull out a stick of butter. Chop it into smaller pieces. Then brown that butter. If you haven't browned butter before: melt the butter on a medium heat and then keep cooking it. Eventually, the butter will start to turn brown and smell delicious, and then you're done (don't let it sit on the heat after it browns, though, because then it could burn and that tastes nasty). It is easier to see if the butter is browning if you brown it in a pan with a light-colored bottom; if you don't have one of those, just use a spoon to scoop a little bit out so it's easier to check.
3) When your pasta is done, scoop out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then strain it. Add it to the browned butter and toss with some cheese (parmesan is good, mizithra is amazing). Add in a little bit of the pasta water as you go to make the sauce more...sauce-y.
4) That's it. Enjoy that deliciousness.
(If you want to get more fancy, then you can toast some fresh sage leaves in the butter a bit before the pasta is ready to add.)
I love to remix my alfredo sauces by making a butternut squash-based alfredo and eating it with tortellini. SO GOOD.
I also love a good carbonara, white cheddar macaroni, and onion-based sauces. I made a lemon sauce a while back but honestly, I can't recommend it. It felt like I was eating cleaning spray.