Pasta dishes are a staple of the best authentic Italian cuisine. With hundreds of years of culinary innovation, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are many different kinds of pasta dishes. There are dozens of varieties of shapes and types of pasta noodles. All kinds of ingredients and toppings are used to give each dish its own unique character.
It might be surprising to learn that there are very few kinds of pasta sauces that are used in most pasta dishes. Considering the variety that all other aspects of pasta dishes have, you would expect sauces to be just as varied. In fact, there are only two main sauces that are used in traditional Italian pasta dishes.
Pasta sauces used in the best authentic Italian cuisine can be split into two categories: red and white. Each sauce has its own distinct flavor, and we highly recommend you try both at least once. Which sauce goes better with what kind of pasta? That’s the question we’re here to answer. Here’s what you should know about red and white Italian pasta sauces.
Italian Cuisine | White Sauces
White pasta sauces, or sughi bianchi, are used quite a lot in Italian cooking. They are typically made with flour, certain herbs such as dill and pesto, and dairy products like butter and cheese. White sauces have a creamy flavor and a thick complexion.
In the best authentic Italian cuisine, white sauces are typically paired with long and thin pasta such as linguine. Another common pasta which couples well with white sauce is conchiglie, otherwise known as pasta “shells”.
White sauces are culinarily known as Bechamel sauce. Originating from its French roots, this sauce is considered as one of the mother sauces of French cuisine.
Italian Cuisine | Red Sauces
Red pasta sauces, or sughi rossi, are one of the main staples of the best authentic Italian cuisine. Used in everything from pizzas to over half of all pasta dishes, red, tomato-based sauces are what comes to mind when you think of Italian cuisine.
Red sauces are typically made by adding ingredients like red chili, garlic, and olive oil to a tomato base. They have a spicy and zesty taste that is common among many pasta sauces. The best ingredients to pair with red sauces are meat ingredients. Types of pasta that suit red sauces include tube pasta like penne and long ribbon pasta like spaghetti.
The most common variant of red sauce is called Arrabbiata sauce, originating from Lazio, an ancient region of Rome. The word Arrabiata translates to “angry,” referring to the spicy taste which comes from the red chili peppers.
White or Red Sauce?
Which sauce is a better fit for your pasta dish? Of course, that primarily depends on your personal tastes. If you’re looking to enjoy the best authentic Italian cuisine as much as possible, there are a few things you should know about pasta sauces.
● Are you concerned about health? White sauces tend to be a little on the fattier side. A typical cup of white sauce contains 262 calories and 17g of fat, meaning it might be a good idea to avoid it if you need to watch your diet. On the other hand, they are a good source of calcium, protein, and contain rich flavors.
● Red sauces are usually a healthier option. They are a smaller source of cholesterol and contain nutrients such as vitamin A.
● What kind of a dish are you looking for? Generally, red sauces pair better with meat, while white sauces go well with seafood. Dishes from the best authentic Italian cuisine usually fall under one of these categories, so it’s up to you to decide which you’re in the mood for.
Best Authentic Italian Cuisine | Pizza Via Mercanti | Toronto
At the end of the day, both red and white sauces can make for a delightful Italian experience if made by the right hands. At Pizza Via Mercanti, we make it our mission to bring you the best authentic Italian cuisine in Toronto. We use traditional methods and ingredients to make our food some of the best-tasting in the city. If you would like to enjoy a taste of Italy, please contact us today to make a booking.
• Try a white sauce if you’re looking for something creamy and rich.
• Red sauces are great if you are looking for something more acidic and meatier.
• Not sure what to choose? Feel free to ask our waitstaff when you visit!