Marinara, Pesto and Alfredo-Oh My!

Craving pasta but tired of red sauce? Try something a little different tonight.

"Life is too short, and I'm Italian. I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0."  ~Sophia Bush 

There is such a wide variety of pasta sauces to choose from at the supermarket-marinara and meat sauces, pesto, alfredo, and vodka to name just a few. Though it certainly is easier to buy a jar than to make a sauce, in reality sauce is not complicated and if you have a few extra minutes you can whip up a great pasta dish for your family. 

The sauce I typically make is a marinara but every now and then I throw a pesto or alfredo dish into the mix. Alfredo because it's super easy (and I do mean super easy) and pesto because, well, I need to prove to my husband that the food processor really wasn't a waste of money.

Traditionalists maintain that certain pastas should be paired with specific sauces (angel hair should go with a light sauce, ziti should be paired with a chunky sauce, etc.). I say listen to Sophia Bush and eat what you like.

Each of these recipes is a tweaked version of a traditional recipe to cut some fat and calories. No one in my household has yet to notice a difference. If you are looking for a marinara (or meatball) recipe I have .

Enough for about 4 cups of pasta


  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp softened butter
  • 2 tbsp grated Romano cheese


  • Combine first five ingredients in a food processor - process until finely minced.
  • Place in a large bowl and stir in cheeses and butter.

(When serving, reserve about 3 tbsp of the pasta water and add the water and pesto to the pasta-it will really bring out the flavors).

Alfredo Sauce
Enough for about 8-9 cups of pasta


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add cheese, half and half, salt and pepper.
  • Cook about a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce heat and add pasta to skillet.
  • Top with extra cheese and more pepper.

Buon Appetito!


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