When one hears pasta sauce, the first thing that pops into their thoughts is the rich tomato-based sauce that is commonly seen in many restaurants. While this is true, tomato-based sauces are not the end-all to pasta sauce. There are light and simple sauces that can make for a mild pasta dish to rich and bold pasta sauces that can make for a hearty dish that can leave you in a food coma. A lot of pasta sauces aren’t even colored red if you’ll believe it.
Pasta Sauce Trivia
- Pasta has been around for thousands of years but the modern pasta sauce, as we know, it was only invented in the 16th
- Marinara Sauce means “Sailors’ Style.” This base sauce was named as such because tomatoes were introduced to Europe by sailors.
- Bolognese sauce or meat sauce came from Bologna in Italy. If you want to order Bolognese sauce in Italy, order some Ragu.
- Alfredo Sauce, a sauce made from melting butter and cheese, is named after Alfredo di Lelio who featured this dish in his restaurant in the early 20th
- Pomodoro – This is the basic tomato sauce that serves as the base for all red pasta sauces.
Pasta Sauce Buying Guide
There’s more to pasta sauce than tomato sauce or marinara sauce. While we would love to tell you about all of the pasta sauces, there isn’t just enough space on this page to tell you about all of them. What we’ll do instead is highlight five of the most popular types of pasta sauce and you can start your pasta sauce journey from there.
- Marinara Sauce – This is probably the most basic pasta sauce and it is possibly the most popular bottled sauce on the market today. Mainly made from tomatoes, garlic, herbs, onions, and olive oil, marinara sauce can be the starting point to a lot of pasta sauce variants.
- Alfredo Sauce – In the original Alfredo sauce, you can’t see any milk or cream. Authentic Pasta Alfredo uses only butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as the sauce of the dish. A reason why milk and cream became synonymous with Alfredo sauce is because of the difficulty of sourcing good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and milk and cream were used to simulate the taste and texture.
- Pesto – This sauce is made from olive oil, basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. We have a separate article with all of the details of this sauce so if you would like to learn more about this pasta sauce be sure to check out the entry on pesto.
- Brown Butter Pasta – Much like Pasta Alfredo, brown butter pasta only uses browned butter and Parmesan cheese as its sauce. Due to this, it is almost impossible to find any pre-bottled brown butter pasta sauce.
- Ragu – Ragu is basically a marinara sauce with ground meat, or what is essentially a meat sauce. Due to the difficulty of bottling cooked meat with sauce, commercially produced Ragu can contain a load of unwanted additives.
Many different types of pasta sauce do not lend well to commercial production due to the ingredients used in their making. Some options to enjoy different pasta sauces is to visit restaurants that serve authentic pasta or visit your local farmers’ market to see if there’s a producer that sells small-batch pasta sauce.
Pasta Sauce Production & Farming in Texas
To continue from our previous section, the reason why many local producers can make specialty pasta sauces is that they do not have to worry about their product staying on store shelves for extended periods.
One of the reasons why there are plenty of artisan pasta sauce producers in Texas is the fact that Texas a very vibrant immigrant community. Many artisan pasta sauce producers have the cultural background to produce authentic pasta sauces that’s thousands of times better than commercially produced sauces.
As with any other product, there is always a Texas twist to any food that has taken root in the state, and pasta sauce is no exception. Texas spaghetti sauce is a lot heartier than even ragu. It has chili powder, green peppers, and instead of Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese is used.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
While convenient, commercially produced pasta sauce can contain a lot of things that you do not want to consume. We won’t detail each additive but we’ll give a broad overview of what types of additives can be seen in the countless commercial pasta sauces out there.
- Preservatives – Any pasta sauce that can last for months on store shelves. The most common preservative that is used on commercially produced pasta sauce is sodium benzoate. While studies have shown that this preservative is relatively safe, studies have shown that when combined with other ingredients, it can become carcinogenic or can cause hyperactivity in children.
- GMO Tomatoes – Don’t be surprised to see many of the famous pasta sauce brands using GMO tomatoes in their sauces. This makes the product cheaper to produce and more affordable to the masses at the expense of the environment and future unwanted side-effects.
- Artificial Flavors and Chemical Texturizers – These improve the overall taste and texture of the product. They need to add this to ensure a consistent taste and texture due to the massive quantities of sauce that they are producing. These additives can cause hyperactivity, asthma, and eczema to individuals who are sensitive to them.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup – This is practically in every processed food out there and this additive has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
With locally produced small-batch pasta sauce, you don’t have to worry about any of those additives.
Pasta sauce is usually packed in glass jars to protect the flavors from contamination and to keep the product fresh.
Enjoying Pasta Sauces
Pasta sauce, is well, good on pasta. Marinara sauce can also be used as a base for other tomato-based sauces and it can be used as a dip for your favorite finger foods. Marinara sauce can also be used as pizza sauce in a snap.
For commercial pasta sauce, please refer to the packaging for storage instructions. For homemade or artisan pasta sauces, leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, just make sure to store it in an airtight container. Pasta sauce can also be frozen for up to three months without any noticeable loss in quality.
Make your own Texas-Style Spaghetti Sauce:
We mentioned Texas-style spaghetti sauce earlier in the article now we’re going to teach you how to make some in your own home!
Dried Spaghetti, 12oz package
Tomato Soup, 2 cans
Chili powder, 1 teaspoon
Green pepper, ½ piece, chopped
White onion, ½ piece, chopped
Hamburger meat, 1 ½ pound
salt and pepper to taste
Sliced black olives, 4oz can
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, 12 oz
Cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions, drain and set aside.
In a saucepan, brown the hamburger meat in a little bit of oil along with the green peppers and onions.
Mix in all of the other ingredients except for the cheese and olives.
Pour spaghetti mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and spread cheese and olives on top.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve and Enjoy!