It’s a new year and you’re ready to take on new challenges. Why not get a little saucy? A fresh take on nutrition and food is a common New Year’s resolution, and adding some new sauces to your repertoire, or even just your pantry, can help liven up your newly developed menu. Looking to add more vegetables to your diet? There’s a sauce for that! Interested in the health benefits of various herbs? Add them to sauce! Here is a list of some popular sauces – Italian and otherwise – to help you understand dishes you thought you knew, and to bolster your Must Try list.

Tomato-based sauces:

Tomato-based sauces are standard fare in North American Italian cooking, and can accompany a vast amount of dishes from the traditional pastas to meatloaf. 

Tomato sauce, or red sauce, at its most basic recipe is a blend of water, tomatoes or tomato paste, and herbs. That’s it! Simple, easy to make your own with additional ingredients (like wine!), and accompanies a wide variety of dishes. Pasta SauceSometimes also called sugo, which literally translates from Italian to English as “sauce”. Marinara is a version of basic tomato sauce that may include additional vegetables. Arrabiata is spicy red sauce.
Bolognese is your classic meat and tomato sauce, the one you’re most likely to serve at home and find on North American restaurant menus.

Cream Based Sauces

Cream-based sauces are comfort food. These traditionally rely on cream and butter and can range from a purposefully mild flavour or pack a garlic or cheesy punch. They have international origins, particularly French and Italian, and tend to go well with seafood pasta dishes, bacon and pancetta. Doesn’t everything go well with pancetta?

White sauce, called béchamel by French chefs, includes flour and is dressed up with cheese and served with vegetables or pasta.

Alfredo sauce is the Italian version of white sauce with a heart of parmesan cheese, and sometimes garlic, served most often on pasta.

Dill sauce is an enhanced white sauce often served with fish, particularly salmon. See how versatile white sauce is!

Sauces of all kinds have a basic starting point – tomatoes and water or cream and butter – then it’s up to the chef to personalize it with additional ingredients to suit the dish, individual tastes, or chosen because those are the ingredients on hand. Traditional recipes tend to be based on what was widely available regionally and seasonally, which is why so many sauces have regional names. You’ve also got your salad dressings, and other oil-based sauces like vinaigrette and pestos, marinades and barbeque sauces – sauce is limited only to creativity.

You can adjust sauce to suit dietary restrictions, health-conscious decisions, and tastes. No need to go bland with your New Year’s food revolutions. National Pasta sauces (and pastas!) are proudly Canadian made with locally sourced and natural ingredients. Stop by one of our shops today and taste the difference quality makes at 25 Struck Court Unit 3 in Cambridge or 715 Wellington St. W in Guelph.

When you think of comfort food visions of biscuits and gravy may float through your head, but at National Pasta it’s lasagna. Those indulgent layers of pasta, sauce, cheese set off a sensory sensation like no other food. One of our most popular products, we offer it in 3 flavour combinations to appease every lasagna fan out there, and there are a lot of you! What kind of lasagna enthusiast are you? Do you fancy yourself a traditionalist, or are you into the modern takes on lasagna? And which one do you take with you to the family potluck this year?

‘Tis the season of potluck! Asking guests to contribute to the celebration’s meal takes a lot of stress out of hosting duties, it can add a bit of strain to guests. On top of juggling a full season of social events, now you’ve got to plan a dish, make it, pack it, and set it up at someone else’s home. You’ve got plenty of resources online, and in your collection of cookbooks, but the choices are so many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Avoid resorting to chips and dip; let National Pasta take the stress out of potlucks this holiday season!

By Guest Blogger Jelly Triangle Marketing Marvels

Have you ever picked up a camera and fiddled with the settings trying to replicate a certain effect or feel that you’ve seen in magazines? It seems like anything you do just doesn’t quite get you the results you were aiming for. With phone camera technology as astounding as it is today, you take great photos but there’s something missing.

So, you’ve decided to be adventurous and make your own tomato sauce. Fun! You head to the store for ingredients and discover that there are tons of different kinds of tomatoes. Which are best to make homemade sauce? Fresh or canned? Seasoned or salt-free? Crushed, whole, or diced? It just so happens that National Pasta are big fans of tomatoes, and we’re here for you! The number of tomatoes you need depends on the recipe, and your taste; it doesn’t hurt to pick up a little more than required just in case. Whether you use canned or fresh tomatoes depends on what’s available to you, particularly how much time you have to prepare.

Garlic is a main seasoning in Italian cooking. Part of the allium family – along with chives, leeks, onions and several hundred species of garden flower – garlic is revered the world over for its sulfuric superpower. That pungent scent and flavour that mellows with heat is unparalleled. Fairly simple to grow, to store, and to play with, garlic is a kitchen essential whether you’re a commercial chef or trying something you saw on Pinterest.

At National Pasta we talk about pasta all day every day and we tend to forget that not everyone does that. We highly recommend, it though, it makes for some lively and delicious discussion. Since it’s our job, not yours, to know everything about pasta, we’d like to clear some up some misconceptions about the preparation and quality of pasta here in this handy reference blog post.

Summer is finally here! And with it comes nature’s abundance of homegrown produce. Berries of all kinds have already started – or finished (thanks for the memories, strawberries, it’s been fun!), and as July gets into the heat of things leafy greens are popping up along with bunches of vegetables. In July alone you can look at markets of all sizes and roadsides for locally grown wax beans, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, green onions, peas, potatoes, peppers, and even some early tomatoes.

Don’t worry, we won’t show up with fettuccini alfredo – unless it’s a host gift – but we do have some great grilling tips to share and ways to make your summer pasta dishes pop with the flavours only a barbeque can provide. Let’s get this patio party started!

You’ve got access to a variety of flours these days, how do you choose? Read about the flours of National Pasta to find out what you should experiment with next.

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