Make ahead pasta sauces

Joined Apr 3, 2008
Sometimes when I have to work at night I make dinner ahead for the boys. When they want pasta I make a red sauce or a bolognese and let hubby boil his own noodles. But that's the only 2 sauces I know how to do. Every other pasta dish I do is whipped up on the spot that I toss with noodles. Any ideas on make ahead sauces? Toddler friendly of course.
Joined Jul 13, 2012
Pesto can be made ahead - both green and red (sun dried tomato).  You could start a fresh sauce and let them finish it while the pasta is cooking.  My Grandma's macaroni, bacon and tomatoes is always a hit here and it's made fresh and it's quick.

For a 1/2 pound of macaroni I use one 28oz can of whole tomatoes crushed by hand (for some reason it makes a difference over diced), half a pound of bacon cooked, drained and broken up, garlic salt to taste and that's about it.  Cook the pasta al dente then finish in the tomatoes and bacon

When I was younger I tried repeatedly to improve on this, but it never tastes as good as this simple recipe.
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Joined Apr 19, 2011

Here's one I'm always asked to make and it keeps really well and can be frozen!.

Vodka Sauce!  Now remember all the alcohol is cooked out so it's child safe but takes great!

Here's what you need!

Garlic cloves as many as you like I use 3-2-6 depending on their size.

(1) small sweet onion or shallot diced medium or both.

(1) large can of good whole plum tomatoes 28-32oz

(1) 1/2 pint heavy cream

2() tablespoons butter

(1/2) pound of plain bacon not a flavored smoked style

Ready on hand Salt, Pepper, Sugar

Fresh Italian spices of your choice (Go crazy make it your own favorite flavors but don't use too much!)

or if you want to spend the extra money replace bacon with prosciutto or pancetta or any combination of these!

Why not use them all?

Olive oil

A really good Parisian or grated cheese!

Vodka of your choice!  You can omit the Vodka but then it's not Vodka sauce it's become some weird version of a carbonara

Prep: Crush your garlic, dice your onion, smash your tomatoes, measure your cream and your ready to start!

Prep #2: Dice your bacon slices into small pieces about 1/4 to 1/2 inch then place in the bottom of your preheated sauce pot and cook over medium high heat until fully browned but not burnt. Once brown remove bacon and fat from pot and stain off the fat!


Put the same pot back on the stove and LOWER the heat to medium then start to saute the onions in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil then add the garlic and cook until onion is starting to become translucent do not burn the onion or garlic pay attention to the heat. Once the onion and garlic are ready pour your vodka (about 1/4 cup more or less if you like) in pot to De-glaze then add your tomatoes, bacon, spices, and salt & pepper, and sugar to taste (not too much sugar just a little). Simmer for 20 minutes or so while you take a break and enjoy a cool crisp glass of wine! after-all isn't that what cooking is all about! Now after the 20 minutes or so put the wine down and get your ass off the seat and get back to work so we can finish this! Now take your heavy cream and rapidly pour & stir the cream into the sauce and then add your butter and some of your grated cheese just a little! Bring back to a simmer stirring frequently, once at a simmer sauce is done!

Now if you're going to use it right away pour over you choice of cooked pasta and enjoy! Otherwise cool rapidly and store in fridge for about 3-5 days or freeze and enjoy 6 months from now! remember that when you are storing ANY food pick a container that fits the food less air means longer storage, no air means better flavor when used. I use a vacuum sealer and anyone that cooks or buys foods in bulk (TO SAVE $$) should have a vacuum sealer they are worth every penny plus they make a great food flavor enhancer to meats and veggies but that's another story!

I hope you like and enjoy this simple but tasty recipe! Hope you have a great day and remember cooking is always an adventure! Peace!
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I'll have to try that Mike9, I have a tendency to want to "improve" recipes myself so I can understand why you would do that.  Hubby never says no to bacon.

Thanks sdj, but I should've mentioned that hubby does not like anything with cream in it.  I make vodka sauce sometimes for us but I would never make it specifically just for him to eat.  
Joined Apr 19, 2011
No Problem maybe you can make it for other friends and family or just share and enjoy! Peace!
Joined Jan 27, 2014
Not sure artichokes will work for you, but we like this one at our house.

2 6-oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts (in oil)
3-4 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes
1 28-oz.can plum tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Drain artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade/oil.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add onions, garlic, oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes and reserved artichoke marinade. Saute over medium-low heat until onions and garlic are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and parsley. Stir gently, and simmer another 5 minutes.

Joined Oct 29, 2008
Any braised meat along with the braising liquid, reduced to sauce consistency, goes well with pasta. For a refined version, after braising meat (lamb or goat neck is my personal favorite), I pull the meat out of the liquid, strain the liquid, then cool them and put them separately into the fridge. Next day, I remove the fat, and reduce the liquid. Then I mix it with the meat (which I sometimes pull). It freezes really well, too.
Joined May 27, 2013
Ok, not traditional Italian pasta, but many stews that work with flat egg noodles freeze nicely. I just recently made mushroom bourguignon and it froze great. I use beef stock  because it adds more depth of flavor. From Smitten Kitchen.  

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional but vegetable to make it vegetarian; it works with either)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

Swedish meatballs also freeze well and you can serve them over flat egg noodles = No Yolks cholesterol free egg white pasta.  
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