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Italian pasta sauce recipes that rival any restaurant

Italian pasta sauce recipes that rival any restaurant

We reveal secrets to whipping up restaurant-caliber marinara, Bolognese, Alfredo, and more.

Andy Lyons

Andy Lyons

From marinara to Bolognese and Alfredo to browned butter, these Italian pasta sauce recipes can dress up any noodle, gnocchi, zoodle, or serve as a dipping sauce for bread. We dish up our best pasta sauce recipes, including white sauce pasta recipes, homemade pesto, better-than-jar red sauce pasta recipes, and much more.

Cupcake diariesCupcake diaries

Cupcake diaries

We’re sharing our ultimate white sauce pasta recipe that’s a dead letter to Olive Garden Alfredo! After eating this copy cat recipe, we were shocked to discover just how much flavor you could get out of a few staples in the fridge and pantry in just 10 minutes. That’s right: The entire meal can be on the table in 15 minutes or less, including pasta cooking time. “My family loved it,” enthuses one reviewer. “I added grilled chicken, shrimp and even broccoli. This is so super easy!”

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Blaine CanalsBlaine Canals

Blaine Canals

If you like salty, spicy dishes like olives, capers, and pickles, you’ll probably love this classic Italian pasta sauce recipe. Puttanesca sauces vary based on where they’re made and what ingredients are available during the season, but they usually have a base of tomatoes, olives, anchovies, and oil. Our favorite puttanesca contains all of the above, plus spicy crushed red pepper flakes, sweet brown sugar, zesty balsamic and lemon, and a full cup of fresh oregano.

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Blaine CanalsBlaine Canals

Blaine Canals

The rich, savory flavors in this homemade pasta sauce recipe will fool anyone into thinking you’ve been simmering a braised pot of meaty Bolognese for hours. It looks and smells remarkably like a Bolognese one of our Test Kitchen recipe developers tasted in Bologna, Italy. Only you should know that mushrooms and vegetable meat settle in for 100% beef – and it only took an hour to execute. A blend of white wine, cream, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a zest of Parmesan cheese set the tone for the savory sauce.

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Scott KleinScott Klein

Scott Klein

This rich homemade pasta sauce recipe delivers a one-two punch of savory meaty qualities, plus meaty mushrooms. Chopped pancetta then team up with a variety of veggies to kick things off minced meat joins the party to add a protein punch and even more flavor. Finish with tomato sauce, a splash of red wine and a spoonful of balsamic vinegar and let it reduce while it thickens. This is one of the best pasta sauce recipes when you’re in the mood for a meal that sticks to your ribs.

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Hannah GrotetHannah Grotet

Hannah Grotet

Creamy pasta sauce recipes often take a bit of time and tinkering to polish up, but not this squash supplement option. This sauce can be on the table in just 30 minutes, and it’s a surprisingly balanced meal to boot. Naturally sweet, ready-to-eat canned pumpkin provides nourishment and a wonderfully silky smooth quality that pairs beautifully with the white wine, evaporated milk, and garlic. Top with sage, kale and Parmesan and you’ve got yourself a quick and fresh dinner that’s the epitome of comfort food.

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Adam AlbrightAdam Albright

Adam Albright

If you’ve been disappointed by too many watery, far from flavorful jar marinaras, let this red sauce pasta recipe be a refreshing change of pace. We opted for two different types of canned tomatoes, lots of garlic and onion, Italian herbs, salt and pepper. and further. Once you’ve mastered classic marinara, don’t miss our creamy vodka, garden vegetable, and meatball variations.

Related: Canned food recipes for when you want to cook from your pantry

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BHG / Sonia Bozzo

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BHG / Sonia Bozzo

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Browning butter takes 8 minutes or less, and is a chef’s secret for adding a delicious extra nutty element to sweet and savory dishes. For this savory application, all that is needed is a piece of butter, a clove of garlic, a spoonful of minced meat fresh herbs, and a little time. The result: one of the best pasta sauce recipes for gnocchi or ravioli. (Try it with popcorn, too!)

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Our Test Kitchen’s best trick for scoring a silky smooth pasta cream sauce recipe without dairy? Cashew nuts! For a complete vegan dinner that certainly doesn’t taste like anything is missing, mix soaked cashews with vegetable stock and simmer with sauteed shallots, herbs, garlic and white wine until thick. Toss with pasta and you’ll be tempted to give this a spin every pasta night.

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Andy LyonsAndy Lyons

Andy Lyons

Of course, you could can tomatoes or freeze tomatoes in their pure, unadorned state. But we like to get a head start on dinner prep by mixing up fresh tomatoes, aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices to preserve the summer flavors, ready to twist open and enjoy at any time of the year. Although easy to recreate, fans consider this one of the best pasta sauce recipes to come out of the BHG Test Kitchen; it has received a five-star rating.

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Scott KleinScott Klein

Scott Klein

Even home cooks who’ve struggled to beat other creamy pasta sauce recipes swear by this sleek, beginner-friendly option that shows how cooking with wine, cream, grated cheese and herbs with restaurant style results. While it’s ready in 20 minutes and the instructions are one step (seriously!), according to one BHG fan, it’s “easy, really tasty, and a breeze to make.” “I will probably use this recipe for family Christmas dinner because you can make it in advance and keep it for a few days. This was delicious!”

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No one will leave the table hungry when you top your noodles with this Italian pasta sauce recipe. Fired up with ground pork, ground beef, pancetta, a variety of veggies, plus whole milk and white wine—and, of course, tomatoes—this nicely spiced, substantial sauce makes a statement. Because it has such a weight, we recommend pairing it classic pasta sauce with a firm cut such as pappardelle, rigatoni, penne or tagliatelle.

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Andy LyonsAndy Lyons

Andy Lyons

The next time you’re blessed with a bouquet of fresh basil, don’t worry about coming up with different dishes to use it as a garnish. Instead, make a big batch of this garlic and basil pasta sauce recipe. It provides as much as 2 cups of tightly packed seasoning for delicious use. In combination with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and oil, this is an ideal dish Pesto Pasta topping. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week to use as pizza sauce, scrambled egg mix, or a seasoning for your favorite grilled or baked protein.

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