Tired and need a quick dinner? Pasta dishes are my favorite go-to for last minute dinner ideas because they are simple and versatile. If you discover that you are out of sauce, don’t worry! These sauce recipes are quick, easy, and delicious. Throw them on your favorite pasta, add salad and bread for a dinner with little time or effort.
This is a great quick and easy sauce; I use it for pasta, pizza, and as a dip for bread sticks.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 3 cloves crushed garlic (2 teaspoons garlic powder)
- 1 28 oz (2 15 oz) cans crushed tomatoes/sauce
- 4 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- Salt to taste
Heat oil in a skillet on medium-low, add onions and cook until translucent or clear. Add the garlic; don’t add it too early or it will burn. Stir in the tomatoes, spices, and sugar. If you don’t like your sauce sweet, add 1 teaspoon of sugar and taste. Some sugar is necessary to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Turn on low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
This sauce can be ‘dressed up’ so many ways. Add your favorite meat or vegetables to the sauce while simmering.
I used to hear this sauce and be intimidated, but it’s really easy to make! Béchamel can be used in many pasta and vegetable dishes.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons All purpose flour
- 4 cups milk, heated
This sauce starts with a roux, melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, do this slow so that it doesn’t burn. Add the flour and stir until blended. Cook the mixture for 4-5 minutes until it starts to turn a golden color. Add the heated milk to the roux, stirring until smooth. This is easier with a whisk, but a spoon works just fine too. Finally add nutmeg to taste. Cook on low until the sauce thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, usually 10 to 15 minutes.
Variations: I substitute paprika for the nutmeg and add garlic.
This is another classic sauce that is simple to make! I love it with chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms or ‘plain’ over macaroni.
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups milk, heated
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- Black pepper (to taste)
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add milk. Stir in parmesan cheese, garlic, and black pepper. Cook on medium-low stirring frequently until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Toss with hot pasta.
Variations: Substitute any shredded cheese; add cooked macaroni and bake for a wonderful macaroni and cheese dish.