How to thicken Pasta Sauce
I love pasta. It is one of those pantry essentials that I always have in stock. You can enjoy pasta in so many different ways.
The key to an amazing pasta dish is a tasty pasta sauce. Pasta sauce enhances the taste of any kind of pasta. There are different types of pasta sauce. The most common one is the classic tomato-based pasta sauce. Other types include meat sauce, herb-based sauce, and vegetable-based sauce among others.
Most pasta sauces are usually thin. I have always been a sucker for thick sauce, I believe that all sauces should be thick because, for some reason, thick sauces just appeal to everyone. For this reason, I almost always thicken my pasta sauce.
The traditional pasta sauce is usually very thin. Even when I make my own pasta sauce at home, it is never as thick as I would want it to be. I did some research on the best way to thicken pasta sauce and came across so many, easy methods.
Some of them are as easy as adding an ingredient to the sauce, stirring it in and letting it simmer for a minute. Other ways require a little bit more time and effort, but you can easily do it if you decide to.
You can thicken pasta sauce in so many ways. You can thicken the sauce by adding mashed potatoes, adding egg yolk to the sauce, adding cornstarch to the sauce, adding grated cheese, making a roux and adding it to the sauce, adding tomato paste, adding ground meat, adding arrowroot, or adding some veggies to the sauce.
Alternatively, you can add the pasta water you used to the sauce simmer the sauce for a few minutes. If you want an even thicker sauce, you can combine two or three of the methods mentioned above.
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This article gives the details on how to thicken pasta sauce.
Here is what to add to pasta sauce.
Potatoes have always been a lifesaver when it comes to sauces. Since potatoes contain a lot of starch, they make your sauce thicker. They also add flavor to your sauce.
All you need to do is boil a potato or two, mash the potatoes and add one or two tablespoons of the mashed potatoes to your sauce.
The pasta sauce will instantly become thick. Don’t add too much of it because your sauce will become too thick for your liking.
As weird as it sounds, egg yolk actually plays a great role in thickening pasta sauce. The egg yolk will also add flavor to your sauce.
All you need to do is whisk your egg yolk and add it to the hot pasta sauce and then let the sauce simmer for approximately one minute as you continue whisking.
The yolk will add thickness and flavor to your pasta sauce.
Just like mashed potatoes, cornstarch is packed with starch which instantly thickens your pasta sauce.
Cornstarch is a better alternative to all-purpose flour because it does not alter the taste or texture of your sauce.
All you need to do is add a teaspoon or two of cornstarch to your sauce, stir it in and let it simmer for approximately one minute.
Your pasta sauce will instantly become as thick as you want it to be. It will also remain clear and there will be no traces of the cornstarch.
If you are a cheese lover like me, this is the best way to thicken your pasta sauce. Simply grate the cheese and add it to your pasta sauce to make it thick.
However, you should only add a small amount of cheese to the sauce. Cheese contains salt which may make your pasta sauce taste saltier than it should be.
Grated cheese adds amazing flavor to your pasta sauce.
Tomato paste is a great addition to pasta sauce. Other than thickening the pasta sauce, it adds the much wanted tomato flavor to the pasta sauce.
When using tomato paste to thicken the sauce, add some spices to get rid of the bland taste of the tomato paste.
Roux is basically a mixture that contains flour and melted oil or butter.
To make it, simply melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and then add some flour to the butter while stirring until you get a thick consistency.
The amount of butter and flour used should be equal. When the roux is ready, simply pour it into your pasta sauce and let it simmer for one minute.
The end result will be a thick pasta sauce.
Ground meat has always been a great addition to pasta sauce. It thickens the sauce and gives it a meaty flavor that everyone will enjoy.
You can add ground beef, pork or chicken to the sauce. All you have to so is brown the ground meat in a little bit of oil.
Once brown, add it to the pasta sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. The ground meat will thicken your pasta sauce and add flavor to it.
Just like cornstarch and mashed potatoes, arrowroots are packed with starch that will instantly thicken any type of pasta sauce.
When you add arrowroot to the sauce, it will remain clear. It also won’t change the flavor of your pasta sauce.
To use arrowroot as a thickener, make a mixture of arrowroot powder and water and then gradually add it to warm sauce.
Stir the sauce as it simmers until it reaches the consistency that you want.
Veggies can also be added to thicken pasta sauce. However, they will make the texture of the pasta sauce a bit crunchy.
You can add tomatoes, carrots, and peppers to the sauce and let it simmer.
The veggies will make your sauce thick and also enhance the flavor.
When you drain your pasta, don’t pour the pasta sauce. Preserve it and use it to thicken pasta sauce. Pasta water is packed with starch.
Add a few teaspoons to the pasta sauce and let it simmer.
The sauce will thicken as it simmers. Remove it from heat once it reaches the consistency that you desire.
Simmer the pasta sauce
Simmering pasta sauce is the oldest trick in the book and it works just as well as the other methods.
Simmering reduces the water content of the pasta sauce. Simply pour the pasta sauce in a pan and let it simmer over low heat.
This process will take approximately 15 minutes.
Yes, breadcrumbs can also be used to thicken pasta sauce. It is made of flour which thickens the sauce.
However, breadcrumbs tend to alter the texture of pasta sauce, so if you like your pasta sauce smooth try one of the other methods.
To use breadcrumbs as a thickener, simply add a teaspoon of the breadcrumbs to the pasta sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes.
The breadcrumbs will not change the taste of your sauce.
You can use all-purpose flour to thicken pasta sauce. Simply add two tablespoons of the flour to a cup of water and gradually add the mixture to your pasta sauce.
Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes.
Flour tends to alter the texture of the pasta sauce and the sauce may also have some traces of flour in it.
A lot of people don’t know that you can use heavy cream to thicken pasta sauce.
Other than making the sauce thick, it will give it a yummy creamy flavor and a perfect consistency.
Using cream is a fun twist to the traditional pasta sauce. It is a crowd pleaser. The taste is to die for.
Combination of three methods
Combining two or three of the methods above will give you amazing results.
For instance, you can add tomato paste to the sauce, add a teaspoon of cornstarch, stir them in, and let the sauce simmer for approximately 8 minutes.
Alternatively, you can add ground meat to the sauce, add tomato paste, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You can use any three methods depending on the flavor and thickness that you want to achieve.
The end result will be better than when you only use one method to thicken the pasta sauce.
Which method is the best?
I always recommend combining two or three methods to get the thickest pasta sauce. Personally, I like adding both tomato paste and cornstarch to the pasta sauce and then letting it simmer for some minutes.
The tomato paste adds color to the sauce and also thickens it and the cornstarch also plays a role in making the sauce thicker.
The texture of the sauce always remains the same, which is perfect for me since I don’t like adding ingredients that alter the texture of the sauce.
You can try any of the above methods until you find one or two that work best for you and your family.