Four Sauces (Musing)
I have always thought that there are only three types of sauces for pastas and never really bothered to explore beyond these three types. To me, that’s it, there is no need for another type, or possibly could be another type, everything is sort of encapsulated in these three sauce base types.
First up, Olive Oil based sauces. These are really simple, healthy (debatable, it’s oil after all) and easy to prepare. Except that you can’t really drizzle knife brand cooking oil (you could actually) all over your pasta, I can guarantee you that it doesn’t and shouldn’t taste all that great. But if you’re sort of choices and you only have knife brand cooking oil to drizzle over your pasta, well then I would strongly encourage you to skip the meal for the day. Nothing is more sacrilegious than to drizzle cooking oil over pasta. I can’t bring myself to do that.
With Olive Oil based sauces, you can literally allow your mind to run freely as far as the rings of Saturn or the diminutive Pluto. You can whip up a mean and green pesto herb sauce, or you could infuse your olive oil (extra virgin is best!) with items like chilli, garlic or fresh garden herbs. These will definitely create a wicked flavour for your pasta. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is best drizzled and not cooked. So please don’t cook your olive oil and then wonder why the oil doesn’t taste as nice as when you had it at some respectable Italian Pasta place.
Next we have Tomato based sauces. So these are your Marinara sauces, your tomato based sauce in a convenient glass bottle that you can easily find in the supermarket. It doesn’t matter if they call it some fanciful name, if it is tomato based, then it is a bona-fide tomato based sauce. All the Italian names are saying the same things as you are, which basically means, tomato based sauce (Ok, I am generalising. But you get my point right?).
Again, with tomato based sauces, you can literally examine and study the varied concoctions that have been developed in the R&D labs of the food laboratory to capture your discerning palate. You can add garlic, chilli, mushrooms, whatever it is that you so desire. The best thing is, it just might work. I like my tomato based sauces in a particular way, so I usually don’t do the take out from the supermarket shelf and strongly discourage anyone that is intending to cook their own pasta to do that. It’s a total cop out to just buy the sauce off the shelf. You have to make it like the guys in Italy do, from scratch, if not, then semi-scratch.
Thirdly, the cream based sauce. This is such a lovely and easy sauce to prepare. Double or heavy cream, intermixed with full cream milk, and you have a very nice creamy liquid texture for the sauce. You can then go on to make the best and more delicious carbonara sauce in the whole world. That’s it. There is no mystery to it. And of course if you like your sauce with all those varied condiments added, infused or mixed into it. There is sure to be a flavour that you would love to pick off the shelves.
However, as an avid cooker of foods. I would strongly discourage you from the supermarket cop out. Try to make the sauce yourself, it would be trial and error but for the most part of it and especially when you have developed your own special blend of cream based sauce, you can literally create magic in the kitchen just like the professionals at the three michelin star restaurant.
Last but not least, and this is a sauce that I recently found out that could be used as a sauce. I basically use the sauce in my chicken stew (Coq Au Vin) to be my sauce for my pasta. I found that Penne works really well with the chicken stew. It’s odd really, but it worked and everyone I know loved it. It is a little unorthodox but heck it, if my son loves it, then I guess it can be done. If you want to try this, you can check out my Coq Au Vin recipe and basically throw pasta into the sauce and you have a very lovely sauce.