Pasta Sauce

Whether you prefer spicy arrabiata, nutty pesto, traditional marinara, meaty Bolognese or creamy Alfredo, sauce is the predominant flavor in any pasta dish. Everyone should have a great marinara recipe up their sleeve, and we love this super-simple version from Grace Parisi; it has only a handful of ingredients—canned whole tomatoes, garlic cloves and basil—and comes together in less than an hour. Its classic taste pairs perfectly with everything from homemade pizza to eggplant parmesan. Find these recipes and more from Food & Wine's guide to pasta sauce.

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Pasta with Roasted Sun Gold Tomato Sauce
Rating: Unrated 1
Cherry tomatoes are roasted on a sheet pan and then cooked down with garlic, a pinch of sugar, and olive oil until the liquid has thickened for this quick, fresh tomato sauce. Use Sun Gold tomatoes for a stunning orange sauce; if they're not available, use any small, sweet cherry tomatoes you can find.
Pesto alla Trapanese
For some reason baffling to me, Pesto alla Trapanese flies a bit under the radar in comparison to its northern Genoese cousin, which is deliciously laden with perfumy basil, salty cheese, and grassy olive oil. But I promise you this Sicilian-inspired pesto is just as noble and worthy of recognition. Not surprisingly, tomatoes, which grow bountifully all over the Italian south, are the foundation of this herb-driven sauce. Native to Sicily, the Pachino tomato varietal that’s typically used for this dish is small and round (and most reminiscent of what we call cherry tomatoes). In Hudson, New York, these petite, orb-like jewels start to arrive at the market towards the end of June, and aside from buying pints to pop while I shop, I know just what to do with them—this recipe is their time to shine.This no-cook sauce swaps almonds for pine nuts and comes together quickly with the help of a food processor. The pesto can be assembled while the pasta water comes to a boil, enabling you to get dinner on the table in no time. While basil is traditionally used, I like to add mint and parsley for complexity. You can certainly also use herbs such as oregano or rosemary, but I recommend treading lightly if you do; they can be overpowering. The best part about this dish is that it works just as beautifully warm as it does at room temperature, so it’s great for summer entertaining. I find it works well as a main course but makes an equally good companion to grilled chicken, fish, or pork.To drink with it, I recommend something red and chillable, preferably from the same region. We are in Sicily, after all, so why not stay awhile? Try wines from Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the only DOCG on the island, which is a strict blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato. Or a straightforward Frappato, which is juicy with great minerality and sips best after a 30-minute ice bath. Whatever’s in your glass, I hope you’re sitting outside somewhere in the sun and toasting the fact that summer has finally, finally arrived.
Basic Tomato Sauce
Chef Hugh Acheson uses a little grated carrot to offset the acidity in his fragrant tomato sauce, which also has plenty of fresh oregano. Slideshow: More Tomato Sauce Recipes
Cavatelli with Sparerib Ragù
This hearty ragù, from chef Josh Laurano of Manhattan’s La Sirena, features both little riblets and tender chunks of sparerib meat in a rich tomato sauce. Adding pork skin to the sauce makes it extra luscious, perfect with a glass of tangy Tuscan red, like the Fattoria Fibbiano L’Aspetto that sommelier Luke Boland pours at the restaurant.SlideshowMore Pasta Recipes
Pasta with Fresh Puttanesca Sauce
Rating: Unrated 5871
This no-cook spicy tomato sauce from F&W’s Kay Chun is flavor-packed with anchovies, capers, green olives and crushed red pepper. Slideshow:  Fast Weekday Pasta 
Sweet Potato and Tomato Sauce
Rating: Unrated 5569
Sweet potatoes make an excellent addition to tomato sauce—they are sweet and creamy and balance acidic tomatoes perfectly. Slideshow:  Great Spaghetti Recipes 

More Pasta Sauce

Spicy Tomato Sauce
Rating: Unrated 119
This will coat 1 pound of pasta. Cooked tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, a compound that fights cancer.Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips
Pasta Bolognese
Rating: Unrated 4219
Grace Parisi's Bolognese features a traditional combination of ground beef, pork, veal, and tomato enriched by smoky pancetta. It's tossed with penne rigate and finished with freshly grated Parmesan. If you want to make the sauce in advance, it can be refrigerated for up to three days and frozen for up to one month. Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pastas