Fresh pasta - sauce ideas?

I'm venturing into the land of homemade fresh pasta for the first time tonight, and I need suggestions on the right sauce to do this pasta justice. I was thinking of a clam sauce or a shrimp scampi sort of thing - light but rich. Other ideas?

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JanetFL
JanetFL June 8, 2012

What do you think about an uncooked fresh tomato sauce, with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar?

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HalfPint
HalfPint June 8, 2012

With fresh pasta, I love to make Cacio e Pepe. Technically not a sauce, but so simply and so delicious.

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Voted the Best Reply!

pierino
pierino June 8, 2012

I remember being in Milano once and this bore ass American was instructing the waiter that he wanted his pasta with clams "with a white sauce, a blanco sauce." Blanco is not even an Italian word. I just winked at the waiter.

I would use these building blocks; olive oil, garlic, parsley, white wine, salt and pepper, perhaps some hot pepperoncino (up to you), perhaps some fennel fronds. What you learn in Italy (unless you are in Bologna) is that less is more. These ingredients will combine well with shrimp and fresh pasta. Keep in mind that fresh cut pasta cooks in about 2 to 3 minutes so be ready. Add the pasta to the sauce, not vice versa.

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Linn
Linn June 9, 2012

Add your answer here

Linn
Linn June 9, 2012

Great answer! Pushed the wrong button when I just wanted to say I agree.

ChefOno
ChefOno June 8, 2012

Yes, less is more. All fine suggestions here. Brown butter and Mizithra being another (and favorite) example.

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Lucytron
Lucytron June 8, 2012

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! The Cacio e Pepe will be perfect.
Tossing it with raw tomatoes sounds lovely, but I'm in Minnesota and our tomatoes just aren't ready yet. I'll save that idea for later this summer. Cheers!

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pierino
pierino June 8, 2012

Cacio e pepe is quite fine by its ownself. But keep the seafood away from it. In Italy there is this commandment about not combining fish and cheese. And it's strictly observed.

amysarah
amysarah June 9, 2012

I agree about cacio e pepe and seafood not being friends.

But I like a little fresh grated parm on my pasta con vongole. Unlike more delicately flavored fish, I think the clams can stand up to it. I understand it's an Italian-American variation on tradition, and that's fine. Since I'm not in Italy, I'm not worried about the carabinieri throwing me in the slammer. (And yes, I've eaten it in Italy many times and refrained, but when in Rome....)

bigpan
bigpan June 8, 2012

For the tomato buy a tin (yes) of Roma tomato that is from Italy. Squeeze with you hands to break into chunks. Use the pieces for your sauce. Use the liquid to make a bloody Mary!
Italians pick and tin tomato at the peak of freshness and taste. Seldom will you find a super market tomato with taste - even when the label says vine ripened etc.

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amysarah
amysarah June 9, 2012

In Minnesota, this may also be an idea for later in the summer, but just wanted to add that a simple basil pesto goes very well with fresh pasta. We have friends in Camogli (on Ligurian coast, home of pesto) and while visiting them we ate it literally every day, and never tired of it.

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pierino
pierino June 9, 2012

The only exception to the cheese rule I've ever seen in Italy is a Pugliese dish called tiella (which actually refers to the cooking vessel. It combines mussels with parmigiano and other stuff depending on which tiella you are making.

Kristen W.
Kristen W. June 9, 2012

Dunno what you folks out there think of this, but I seem to recall Marcella Hazan stating adamantly that butter is the preferred fat for fresh pasta, and olive oil for dried. Also, her rule of thumb is to keep it simple with fresh pasta, so the pasta, not the sauce, can shine. I'm not experienced enough with fresh pasta to expound about if on my own behalf, but anyway, that's Marcella's opinion!

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Kristen W.
Kristen W. June 9, 2012

oops, that's "expound about IT", not "expound about if".

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pierino
pierino June 9, 2012

Marcella Hazan comes from Venice and her recipes have a definite bias toward the cooking style of the Veneto. All Italian cooking is regional. Even micro-regional.

Reiney
Reiney June 9, 2012

To the suggestions above I'd add: a few good anchovies go a very long way in many pasta sauces! I like to crush them into the olive oil & sizzling garlic before adding tomatoes (if adding tomatoes).

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pierino
pierino June 9, 2012

Good anchovies are your friends!

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