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So earlier this week I wrote about my simple and delicious marinara sauce. It is a staple recipe to have in your repertoire. Takes 30 mins to make, inexpensive and it freezes very well.

But I also wanted to show you how easy it is to change it up with a few simple ingredients to create 5 different meals. 1 sauce = 5 meals. Curious? I thought so.

First of all you start off with my marinara sauce. It is simple to make and extremely affordable. The whole pot, 8 cups of sauce cost me 8$ to make.

1. Arrabbiata Sauce (Arrabbiata means angry in Italian)

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add  (1/2 cup) finely diced pancetta. If you can’t find pancetta you can use bacon or prosciutto. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 tsp. of red chile flakes; cook until the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of marinara sauce and 1/4 cup torn basil leaves and simmer ~ 10 mins. Toss with 1 package of cooked and drained pasta. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Arrabiatta Sauce

 

2. Penne Alla Vodka

So I always have vodka in my house, but I have never used it to cook with until now. Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add  (1/2 cup) finely diced bacon, cook for 3-4 minutes until the fat starts to render out. Add 1 finely diced onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 tsp. of red chile flakes; cook until the garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of marinara sauce and 1/2 cup of vodka and reduce for a few minutes. Add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes on low heat. Toss with 1 package of cooked and drained pasta (penne works well). Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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Penne Alla Vodka

3. Rose sauce (pink sauce)

In a large sauté pan over medium heat add in 1 cup marinara and season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Simmer until hot. Add in 1 cup of heavy cream and a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5- 10 mins. You can use this sauce for pasta, on top of sauteed chicken breasts, on gnocchi, on spaghetti squash. It is so versatile.

gnocchi

Rose sauce on gnoochi

4. Mussels Marinara (Fra Diavolo)

Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in a large sauce pot and sauté 3 cloves of minced garlic for about 2 minutes, being careful not to brown it. Add 1 cup of white wine (Pinot Grigio works well) and bring the heat up to high. Bring the wine to a boil and simmer for another two minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and 1/2 tsp of crushed red chile flakes. Once the sauce is at a light simmer, add the mussels (4 pounds of cleaned mussels), give them a stir, raise the heat to medium and cover the pot. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened, then stir in the parsley. Transfer mussels to a platter. (Discard any mussels that do not open.) Serve with the warm baguette.

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Mussels Marinara

5. Sausage and Peppers

This is a classic dish and super easy to make. In a large saucepan with a lid, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Cook 4 Italian sausages to brown all sides. Remove and set aside. Turn heat to high. Add 1 sliced pepper and 1 sliced onion, cooking until slightly tender and browned, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Stir in 1 cup of marinara sauce and a pinch of pepper flakes. Reduce heat to a low simmer and return sausages to the pan. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until sausages are cooked through. You can serve the sausages whole or  sliced. Serve with polenta or pasta or on a fresh crusty roll.

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Sausage and Peppers

As you can see you can make 5 dishes with one sauce. Enjoy!


I am a girl who loves food. I grew up with a Mom who was an excellent cook. She wrote a cookbook when I was a child, and as they say, the rest is history. Started a catering business in 2005 and haven’t looked back. I am a mom to 2 beautiful girls and I want them to love food as much as I do. In the meantime, I love life and love my job @ http://www.monicaskitchen.com