The First Mess
As someone who doesn't love to cook, I've consumed countless bowls of pasta, because, let's face it, boiling a pot of water and tossing in a handful of dried pasta is the universally accepted alternative to ordering in. Now, you can blame it on the fact that I finally invested in a Dutch oven, but I recently decided that it was time for me to put down the Trader Joe's jarred Pomodoro and put in the (minimal) extra effort required to make my own pasta sauces.
So, after putting dozens of recipes to the test, I'm finally sharing the easy pasta sauces that I keep on constant rotation. Spanning a chorizo bolognese and a vegan-friendly broccoli rabe pesto, these homemade recipes are infinitely better than the store-bought varieties. Consider yourself warned—these mouthwatering recipes will have you stocking your pantry with canned tomatoes stat.
Chorizo Bolognese Pasta With Sourdough Pangrattato
Why I Love It: If I'm being honest, this recipe had me at "chorizo." With a richer, more intense flavor than ground beef, this spicy pork sausage is what sets this homemade bolognese apart from the rest. Recipe creator Tieghan Gerard describes this divine sauce as "Spanish meets Italian" and I'm here for it.
Pappardelle With Roasted Butternut
Why I Love It: This isn't your ordinary ragu. Rather than simmering on the stovetop, this sauce is roasted in the oven. The unconventional cooking method elevates canned tomatoes to new heights. Trust me, when paired on a pan with diced butternut squash, a splash of red wine, and a handful of aromatic herbs, the humble pantry staple really shines.
No-Guilt Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
The Recipe: No-Guilt Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Why I Love It: When I'm in the mood for lighter Italian fare, I turn to this no-guilt broccoli fettuccine Alfredo recipe by Half Baked Harvest, which swaps traditional cream with protein-packed hummus. It might sound odd, but when topped with roasted broccoli and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, it's almost better than the real thing.
Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and Chive Pesto
The Recipe: Orecchiette With Broccoli Rabe and Chive Pesto
Why I Love It: Bright green and slightly bitter, this broccoli rabe and chive pesto is so good that it has me counting down the days to spring when this produce will be at its peak. Sure, your standard basil and pine nut pesto is good, but trust me, this vegan-friendly version from genius recipe creator Laura of The First Mess is even better.
Healthy Mushroom Bolognese With Tagliatelle and Buffalo Mozzarella
Why I Love It: Although I professed my undying love for chorizo mere moments ago, I assure you, I only eat the spicy sausage on the rarest of occasions. For a meatless pasta sauce that doesn't compromise on flavor, this healthy mushroom bolognese never disappoints. Chock-full of portobello mushrooms, red bell peppers, and onion, it manages to be satisfyingly hearty even without the meat.
Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce
The Recipe: Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce
Why I Love It: Simple. Classic. This creamy tomato sauce hits the spot when I'm craving comfort food. Plus, when topped with freshly chopped cherry tomatoes and a few handfuls of peppery arugula, it's infinitely healthier than a bowlful of mac and cheese. The best part? It's ready in just 30 minutes.
Rigatoni With Mushroom Sauce
The Recipe: Rigatoni With Mushroom Sauce
Why I Love It: This butter-based mushroom sauce is decadent. Pressed garlic, aromatic herbs, and white wine lend depths of flavor to the rich, creamy sauce that pairs well with hearty pastas like rigatoni and penne. While it's delicious straight out of the pan, it's almost better reheated the next day after the flavors have mingled overnight.
Three-Ingredient Tomato Sauce
The Recipe: Three-Ingredient Tomato Sauce
Why I Love It: Made with just three ingredients (ripe, Roma tomatoes, quality olive oil, and a pinch of salt), this tomato sauce is perfect for those busy weeknights when I need to quickly whip up a last-minute meal. All that's missing is lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Next Up: 7 Italian crockpot recipes for anyone who ever said they can't cook.