5 Basic Pasta Sauces to Master Now

Related To:

Ina Garten's Marinara Sauce for Perfect Pasta as seen on Barefoot Contessa

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If there's any recipe to have in your back pocket at all times, it's a good pasta sauce. When you're armed with just a few simple (and likely on-hand) ingredients, jarred sauce can be a thing of the past, and no-sweat meals can be a nightly affair. Once you have these basic sauces down, a number of pasta dinners are just a rolling boil away.

Before you twist the lid off your next jar of tomato sauce, consider making a batch yourself. While there are many ways to make a classic red sauce, Ina Garten's five-star Marinara Sauce is about more than tomatoes. She deepens the flavor with red wine and garlic, and she creates a chunky texture with chopped onions and crushed tomatoes. It jives perfectly with any pasta shape, as a part of a baked pasta dish like lasagna or even as pizza sauce.

Ree Drummond's Alfredo Sauce for Alex's 16th Birthday as seen on Food Network's The Pioneer Woman

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ree Drummond's Alfredo Sauce is as unassuming as it gets. Once grated Parmesan cheese emulsifies with cream and melted butter, this decadent sauce is ready to be tossed with fettuccine or any pasta shape you can get your hands on.

Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Bolognese as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

A sauce like Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Bolognese makes a full, well-rounded meal out of something as simple as from-the-box pasta. The best part? This meaty pasta sauce, brimming with tomatoes, basil and parsley, comes together all in one pot.

Tyler Florence's Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage for Gnocchi in Waxahacie, TX/Paella in Mt. Kisco, New York as seen on Food Network's Food 911

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When Tyler Florence's Butternut Squash Sauce with Sage graces your family’s dinner plates, they won't react like it's any other weeknight dinner. Instead, this subtly sweet taste of fall seems altogether event worthy, especially when it’s served with gnocchi and topped with fried sage and chopped chestnuts.

Tyler Florence's Mushroom Cream Sauce for Ravioli Done Right as seen on Food Network's Food 911

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When slowly poured into a pan with sauteed garlic, sage and portobello mushrooms, cream becomes a velvety and rich Mushroom Cream Sauce. Stir in leeks before tossing with pasta — or, better yet, cheese ravioli.

Once you’ve made these basic pasta sauces enough, you won't even need a recipe by your side.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Best 5 Pasta Salad Recipes

Check out Food Network's best-five pasta salads to find top-rated classic and dressed-up creations from some of your favorite chefs, like Giada and Ina .

5-Ingredient Pasta from Kitchen Sink

When time is tight, look to these go-to pasta recipes to save the day.

How to Pair Pasta with Sauce

Before you pick out a pasta for dinner tonight, think about what sauce you're craving. Different pasta shapes lend themselves better to different pasta sauces and these perfect pairings will ensure the perfect bite.

50 Things to Make With Pasta Sauce

Food Network Magazine has taken a household staple and provided 50 different ways to incorporate it into recipes like Spanish rice, minestrone soup and Italian meatloaf.

Giada's 5-Ingredient Pesto Pasta — Meatless Monday

Dig into Giada's hearty quick-fix pasta that's ideal for Meatless Monday or any other day of the week.

5 Pumpkin Pasta Dishes to Make for Dinner

These Food Network recipes incorporate pumpkin into simple pasta dishes that are a winning combination of fresh and filling.

Easy Pasta with No-Cook Sauce — Meatless Monday

Ideal for Meatless Monday dinner, Food Network's Melissa d'Arabian prepares a simple, fresh summer pasta with a no-cook sauce of tomatoes and olives.

Giada’s Quick Pasta with Spinach Sauce — Meatless Monday

Try Food Network's Penne with Spinach Sauce from Giada De Laurentiis for a simple, quick dinner for Meatless Monday.

Pasta With Olive-Caper Sauce — Meatless Monday

Dress up tomato sauce with capers, olives and mozzarella using Food Network's easy recipe for Bucatini With Olive-Caper Sauce, a go-to Meatless Monday dinner.

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond Tomato Sauce — Meatless Monday

Get Food Network Magazine's easy-to-make recipe for Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond Tomato Sauce, a go-to meal ideal for Meatless Monday dinner.