Homemade Pasta Sauce 3 Ways

Homemade Pasta Sauce 3 Ways

See how to make easy marinara, Alfredo and pesto sauces for your next pasta night.


Make one of these classic pasta sauces the next time you’re craving an Italian night. Easily customizable and delicious, they’re fast, easy and family-approved. By knowing exactly what goes into the sauces — and using fresh ingredients instead of jarred sauces — you can rest assured that you’re serving a wholesome dinner!

Tip: Make a night out of whipping up these sauces by making homemade pasta.

1. Classic Marinara Sauce
Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

Ingredients
5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 cups diced red bell pepper 
4 tablespoons minced garlic 
2 cups diced red onion (1/4-inch dice) 
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes 
1 1/2 cups double-strength chicken stock 
1 bay leaf 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped 
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped 
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add the bell pepper and sauté until caramelized, about 7 minutes
  3. Add the garlic, and cook briefly until light brown. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to mix well
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until thick, about 25 minutes. Be sure to stir often to prevent scorching
  5. Add the butter, oregano, parsley and basil, and stir well. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

2. Easy Alfredo Sauce
Serves: 4
Cook time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 cups heavy cream 
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper 
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, melt butter
  2. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in grated Parmesan and generously season with salt and black pepper
  3. Garnish with chopped parsley
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3. Basil Pesto Recipe
Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cost: $

Ingredients
4 cups packed basil leaves 
About 10 parsley sprigs, stems removed 
2 cloves garlic 
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, walnuts or almonds 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Instructions

  1. Combine the basil, garlic, parsley, toasted nuts, and salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, and process until finely chopped
  2. Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture as the processor or blender is running, just until it makes a paste. Remember, you can always add more oil, but you can't remove it
  3. Put the mixture in a bowl. Add grated cheese to mixture and stir

Tip: Refrigerate leftover pesto drizzled with a layer of olive oil to preserve it. Pesto can also be frozen. One of our favorite methods is to freeze it in ice cube containers and then transfer the frozen cubes to a plastic freezer bag. A couple of cubes thawed and served hot on fresh pasta makes enough pesto to feed a few hungry people.

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