No Sauce. No Problem.
You're craving pasta so you head to the pantry and realize you're out of pasta sauce. And pesto! Now what?
By Vicki Martinez
Before you reach for the takeout menu or pull a frozen dinner out of the freezer, remember there's no hard-and-fast rule saying pasta must be prepared with sauce. Check out these deliciously sauce-free recipes from Barilla Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni.
A No-Sauce Dilemma
“One of the best things about pasta is its versatility. Pasta with red sauce is a tried-and-true favorite, but if you don’t have sauce on hand, it’s incredibly easy to whip up a delicious dish that doesn’t require any sauce at all,” says Chef Lorenzo.
“This orecchiette recipe is a perfect example of a simple, sauce-less dish that can be made with just a few simple ingredients. All you need is broccoli, red pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, anchovies and Pecorino Romano cheese.”
A No-Sauce Change of Pace
So, you do have all the ingredients to make your favorite marinara or homemade pesto. But you're ready to try something different to, as Chef Lorenzo says, “venture beyond your usual pasta-plus-sauce fare.” The chef’s suggestion: bottarga.
Bottarga is dry tuna or mullet roe. Chef Lorenzo remembers enjoying bottarga often as a child and to this day enjoys leveraging the bold umami flavor. He recommends adding bottarga to seafood pasta dishes, tossing pasta in a bottarga emulsion.
To make the emulsion:
- Grate 5 tablespoons of mullet roe bottarga into a bowl
- Whisk in 5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Season with black pepper
- Add half a cup of pasta cooking water
- Toss al dente pasta with the creamy bottarga emulsion
“Top the final dish with any remaining bottarga,” he says, “for a bold and flavorful finish.”
No Sauce … Well … Maybe Just a Dash
“This classic Naples dish is essentially the best of both worlds,” Chef Lorenzo explains. “Peeled tomatoes mixed with garlic, capers, olive oil, anchovies, olives and chili pepper yield a dish that has just a touch of traditional homemade sauce feel without being overly saucy.”