Pasta with basic tomato sauce is a weekly - sometimes nightly - occurrence in our house. To keep things interesting, we'll finish it off with...well, whatever we have in the fridge! Here are a few of our favorite finishing touches for a simple bowl of pasta.
We use these to finish a tomato sauce all the time, but they can work well with just about any sauce you're making, or even become the sauce itself. Cheese and dairy give sauces creaminess while butter and oil give them richness. You also don't need to use a lot - these are just for finishing and rounding out the flavors in a sauce.
1. Whole Milk or Heavy Cream - Add a splash and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes to thicken
2. Hard Cheeses - A half cup of parmesan, pecorino, or other hard cheese will add a deep savory note to the sauce.
3. Fresh Cheese - Try a scoop of ricotta or even creme fraiche to add richness. Brie or mascarpone can also be interesting in pasta!
4. Cream Cheese - Got some cream cheese leftover from your weekend bagels? Mix it into your pasta sauce!
5. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - Drizzle just a little of your best olive oil over the pasta before serving and you'll be amazed at how much flavor it adds.
6. Flavored Olive Oils - Flavored oils that you make yourself do double duty, adding both a silky mouthfeel and extra spices.
7. Butter - As you might imagine, a simple pat of butter, especially fresh high-quality butter, makes even the simplest sauce taste decadent.
8. Pasta Water - Scoop out some of the cooking water just before draining out the pasta. A few tablespoons of this starchy liquid is a low-calorie way of adding creaminess to any sauce.
What other last-minute additions do you put in your pasta sauces?