Everybody loves pasta—but not if it’s made the same way night after night. Families with kids, especially, eat loads of pasta, but it’s awfully easy to get stuck in a “red-sauce rut,” eating one version or another of marinara sauce over and over again.
Enter author Allan Bay, an ex-pat who lives in Rome and has written some of Italy’s best-selling cookbooks. Bay opens up in these pages a big, bold new world of pasta sauces, some from the classic Italian repertoire, other brilliant new creations of his own.
They have all sorts of main ingredients, from beef and chicken to shrimp and clams to glorious veggies from artichokes to zucchini. All of the sauces are easy to prepare and everyone cooks up fast.
The Complete Book of Pasta Sauces includes:
- Asparagus and Pine Nut Sauce
- Meatball Ragout
- Pesto Sauce, plus six different pesto variations
- Chicken Ragout
- Nantua Sauce with Shrimp
- Lamb Ragout with Porcinis
- Roman Cauliflower Sauce
There are bowls and bowls of kid-friendly sauces and plenty of grownup sauces, too. Each recipe comes with one to three “Best On” recommendations, along with additional “Also Good On” ideas that range from different shapes of standard wheat pasta to egg noodles, polenta, rice, and more. There are suggestions, too, for serving the various sauces directly on meats, poultry, or fish—something that is very common in Italy but less familiar elsewhere.
This deliciously creative book makes pasta and pasta sauces more exciting than they’ve ever been before.
The Complete Book of Pasta Sauces: The Best Italian Pestos, Marinaras, Ragùs, and Other Cooked and Fresh Sauces for Every Type of Pasta Imaginable is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Indigo.ca.
Seafood and Lobster Sauce
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 pounds (908 g) clams
2 pounds (908 g) mussels
Salt and fresh-cracked black pepper
1 fresh chile pepper (such as serrano or jalapeño), destemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Meat from 1 whole cooked lobster
¼ cup (60 ml) white wine
¼ cup (33 g) Soffrito
• Al dente spaghetti
Goes Well On:
• Bruschetta and crostini
• Veloutés and cream soups
- Scrub the clams and mussels and scrape away the mussels’ beards with a knife. In a large bowl, combine the clams and mussels with enough water to cover by a few inches. Generously salt the water and stir to combine. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator to release their sand and debris.
- Carefully scoop the clams and mussels from the water, leaving the dirt and sand behind. Rinse and drain the clams and mussels, discarding any that are cracked or broken, or that will not close when tapped.
- Pour a few swirls of oil into a large pot and add the chile and half of the parsley. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and brown. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the clams and mussels and cook until they open (cook time will vary based on the size of the shellfish you use). Discard any clams or mussels that do not open.
- Remove the mussels and clams, shell them, and chop the meat into pieces.
- Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve set over a heatproof bowl (do not throw it away; it makes an excellent broth).
- Combine the lobster meat in a skillet with a few swirls of oil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, or until browned.
- Pour in the wine to deglaze the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Simmer for about 3 minutes until the wine evaporates.
- Stir in the soffrito, clams, mussels, and a little of the strained cooking liquid.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the remaining parsley.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Quarto Publishing Group.