Italians are the best consumers of pasta in the world, approximately a yearly amount of twenty-five kilos per person. Pasta is the heart of the Mediterranean diet and can be combined with whatsoever available at home from vegetables to fish and meat, and legumes as well.
Pasta sauces are an essential component to garnish all types of pasta and all are a reflection of the culinary traditions of the different part of Italy. Here we want to present three basic and traditional sauces, very popular in Italy and all over the world: pesto sauce from Liguria region, ragu' alla bolognese from Emilia Romagna, and tomato sauce.
Ragu' alla bolognese is a basic sauce to prepare many traditional Italian recipes. It is perfect to season pasta fresca all'uovo - fresh egg pasta (like tagliatelle), fresh egg filled pasta (like ravioli), durum wheat pasta or to make the lasagna alla bolognese.
The pesto is a traditional sauce from Liguria, a wonderful region by the sea in North - West Italy. The name of this sauce comes from the Italian verb "pestare” that means to beat, as it is supposed to beat, the fresh basil leaves and all the other ingredients into a mortar. To obtain an excellent result it is important to use fresh ingredients and a very good extra virgin olive oil like the Ligurian one.
When it comes to the tomato sauce, it’s the most versatile sauce, being used to season pasta, pizza, savory cakes, meat vegetables etc. One can really play around in preparing funny dishes just with a simple tomato sauce.
The following recipes will help you to prepare delicious pasta sauces and dishes for your family and guests.
Pesto sause - veggie
INGREDIENTS for 4 servings
320 gr trofie (or any other kind of pasta)
60 gr grated parmesan cheese
12 gr pine nuts
25 basil leaves
1 clove garlic, sliced
50 gr extra-virgin olive oil
Wash and dry the basil leaves. Crush some of the leaves with a mortar and pestle adding more gradually. Add the pine nuts little at a time together with the sliced clove of garlic and a pinch of cooking salt (Himalayan salt would be the best). Mash all the ingredients together until obtaining a smooth blending. Add the parmesan cheese and mix very well. Drizzle 50 gr of extra-virgin olive oil and mix until obtaining a homogeneous sauce.
Cook the pasta until al dente. If the pesto sauce is too thick, dilute it with a spoon of cooking water. Then drain the pasta add the pesto sauce, mixing very well.
Garnish the pasta with basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese.
TIPS: We have often eaten this dish with potatoes and green beans. If you wish to give it a try, place 1 waxy potato, peeled and cut into small cubes, into a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and continue to cook all together. After 2 minutes add a bunch of green beans and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and season with the pesto sauce.
Tomato sauce - veggie
INGREDIENTS for 4/6 people
400 gr of tomato puree
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Put in a heavy skillet the olive oil, tomato puree, ½ glass of water and salt, turn on the stove at low – medium heat. Cover with a lid and let simmer for approximately 15-20 min. All along the process, check if the sauce is too thick or is condensing onto the bottom, in this case add a bit of water and stir. When it is ready add the basil leaves.
Use the tomato sauce to season every kind of pasta, from short to spaghetti.
Ragu alla bolognese - meaty
Here you will find the ragu' alla bolognese recipe
If you happen to have ravioli, give to them an extra taste seasoning with ragu' alla bolognese.