Pasta Sauces

Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1. In nonreactive 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, basil if using, and salt. Heat to boiling, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Use to coat 1 pound pasta for 4 main-dish servings. Makes 31⁄2 cups.

2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed with garlic press
2 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli) or walnuts
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In blender or in food processor with knife blade attached, puree basil, garlic, pine nuts, oil, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add Parmesan and blend until combined. Makes about 3⁄4 cup sauce (enough to coat 1 pound pasta).

Classic Bolognese Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
11⁄2 pounds ground meat for meat loaf (beef, pork, and/or veal) or ground beef chuck
1⁄2 cup dry red wine
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1. In nonreactive 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add ground meat and cook, breaking up meat with side of spoon, until no longer pink. Stir in wine and heat to boiling. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour.
3. Stir in cream and heat through, stirring constantly. Use 21⁄2 cups sauce to coat 1 pound pasta for 6 main-dish servings. Makes 5 cups.

Know Your Pasta
Choose the right sauce for your pasta. Here are some tried-and-true guidelines:
• Thin pastas, such as capellini and vermicelli, should be dressed with delicate, light sauces that will cling to the skinny strands.
• Fettuccine and linguine are excellent with light meat, vegetable, seafood, cheese, and cream sauces.
• Tubular pastas are great with meat sauces: The nuggets of meat nestle right inside the tubes. Chunky vegetable or olive sauces are also a good match for macaroni-type pastas as well as for baked dishes.
• Tiny pastas are best saved for soups or combined with other ingredients.

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