Aside from the combination of meat, vegetables and spices, the lifeblood of any pasta dish is in its sauce. With the right cooking methods and a splash of imagination and creativity, you can create bestselling fusion dishes that diners will remember you by.
Here are the 5 classic Italian pasta sauces that you can start with as your base.
The quintessential blend of tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs, this sauce is the lifeblood of Italian cooking. Marinara can be used for a refreshing summer menu, and to create healthy food that is light on the tummy. Add a bit of heat to this dish with some Korean gochujang or Chinese Szechuan—earthy and spicy flavours that spicy-loving diners will look forward to.
The nutty flavours of pine nuts paired with earthy basil, olive oil, garlic and tangy cheese make up this fresh and straightforward sauce that vegetarians and weight-conscious people can enjoy. Create a chimichurri-inspired sauce by adding cilantro to the mix. You can even add some Yuzu or lime for that extra sour taste. And for those who can’t get enough of Thai flavours, mix in some green curry!
This is an upgraded version of the Marinara sauce, as it includes ground meat to make a richer sauce—the result of slow-cooking and simmering until the meaty flavours are thoroughly infused. By adding in some kimchi to the sauce, you introduce diners to the taste of Korean cuisine with its sour-spicy flavour. Try a Kung-pao-inspired dish using Szechuan chilis, or even a Chinese-style Bolognese pasta with soy sauce and rice wine for that oriental feel.
On the other spectrum of pasta sauces, you have the classic cream, butter and cheese combination that make up a good Alfredo sauce. It is rich, creamy and a guaranteed crowd favourite—made even better if you add in some salted egg for that kick of umami. Don’t forget to top it off with some grated egg to intensify things! And if you want to create Singapore food, go with the spicy flavours of laksa, or even some aromatic yellow curry.
Butter is creamy and decadent, but if browned just a bit, it gets that extra nutty, roasted flavour that works with just about any pasta—particularly ravioli. It’s very straightforward, as it only uses one ingredient: butter. By mixing in some Yuzu or lime, you add a refreshing note that cuts across the richness of the pasta. If diners are looking for something Japanese, try cooking garlic and a mix of different mushrooms with the browned butter, and add in some miso before giving it a toss with al dente noodles.
Cooking Hack: Create Asian-style Ravioli by using wonton wrappers instead of pasta. Not only does this save you time, but it’s also cost-efficient and quirky.
There are many ways on how to cook pasta sauces, and so many other combinations that have yet to be made. Take a trip down the Asian store and see what else there is you can experiment with, and who knows? You might just make the next big culinary hit!
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