Pasta by itself is no head-turner. But cloak it in the savoury, refreshing and sizzling sauce, and everyone wants a piece of it.
As it happens, the trick with making a pasta sauce isn’t the sophistication; it’s the simplicity. Let’s begin our first masterclass with a relatively simple pesto.
Purple Pesto Sauce
- ½ head red cabbage, chopped coarsely
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbsp. sunflower seed
- Olive oil
- 2 large handfuls of steamed green vegetables
- Parmesan, freshly grated
Blend the cabbage, garlic, sunflower seeds and salt in a blender. Gradually add olive oil while blending, until the mixture forms a paste. Add salt to taste.
In a frying pan, toss several spoonful of the pesto with pasta-water. Add pasta of your choice. Top with more sunflower seeds and a handful of steamed green vegetables. Heat for 2 minutes. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan. Call the neighbours.
Tomato Bacon and Mint
- Olive Oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
- 200g bacon, fat removed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 500g vine tomatoes
- Mint leaves
- 3 tbsp. vinegar
- Freshly grated parmesan to serve
- Loved ones
*To make this sauce vegetarian, just omit the bacon.
Add 1 tbsp. oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Sauté the onions till golden brown, then add the bacon and cook till the bacon is crispy. Remove and keep aside
Add 2 tbsp. to the same pan and heat over a medium heat. Sauté the garlic till golden brown, then remove and keep aside
Cut each tomato in half, and squeeze out the juice and seeds. Chop into bite-size pieces and add to the pan with 1 tbsp. oil and a pinch of salt. Let it simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes. Then, add the bacon, onion, vinegar and mint. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the pasta in the pan along with 2-3 tbsp. of the cooking water. Toss everything together and serve your loved ones with parmesan.
- 1 garlic clove
- 25 g pine nuts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp. salt
- Basil leaves
- 4-6 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. parmesan, freshly grated
Blend the garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and salt in a blender until smooth. Add the basil and 2 tbsp. oil to get a sauce-like consistency. Stir in the parmesan. Mix with the pasta, then stand back and admire your handiwork.
Quick Chicken Alfredo
- 125 g butter
- 250 ml thickened cream
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 cups of milk
- 170 g parmesan
- 1 tsp. white pepper
- 500g diced BBQ chicken
Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan on a medium flame. Add the cream and garlic. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
Gradually, add the milk while whisking to smooth out the lumps. Stir in the grated parmesan and 1 tsp. white pepper. Remove from heat once the sauce achieves desired consistency.
Toss in the diced chicken and add cooked pasta of your choice. Thin the sauce with milk if it gets too thick. Serve hot.
Lime and Tequila Salmon
- ½ cup lime juice
- ½ cup tequila
- ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 300 ml cream
- 650 g salmon
- Juice of 1 lemon
In a boiling pan, add the lime juice, tequila and white-wine vinegar, and bring to a boil. Add the garlic and white part of spring onions.
When liquid is reduced by a quarter, add the cream. Boil to reduce by half.
Combine the sauce with the cooked salmon and a pasta of your choice.
Top with juice of 1 lemon and sliced spring onion greens. Serve hot. Look cool.
There you go, you’re all sauce-ready, pasta-ready, world-ready. Not so hard, was it?