14 Blender Pasta Sauces for Dinner Tonight
Dress up your favorite noodle with a homemade sauce using a time-saving trick: your blender. Sponsored by the new KitchenAid® K400 Blender.
Sponsored by KitchenAid and the new KitchenAid® K400 blender.
If you ask my 5-year-old nephew what he wants for dinner, the answer is always the same. Every night. Pasta. And I totally get it. Pastas — delicate angel hair, tongue-teasing orecchiette, fat pappardelle — are all variations on one theme. Heaven.
But sauces? Well, they can make or break even the loveliest linguini — and nothing compares to a sauce made from scratch.
A good homemade sauce doesn’t have to take hours to prepare, especially when you use a blender to streamline the process. Here are 14 great choices — traditional or unique, vegan-friendly or omnivore, calorific or light — to take any pasta from meh to marvelous.
Audrey Hepburn’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro
Audrey Hepburn lived in Rome for many years and loved cooking at home. This pomodoro sauce is a classic beauty, just like its namesake. The base, of course, is tomato, with fresh basil and onion. With a blender, you can easily achieve the ideal consistency — a thick sauce that’s not too smooth or too chunky. Serve it with just about any pasta, topped off with shaved Parmesan.
Fresh Tomato Puttanesca Sauce
Puttanesca gets its name from the Italian word for certain "ladies of the night," who created the aromatic sauce (or so the legend goes) to lure in customers. It now holds a respectable position in the culinary world, though with anchovy paste, olives, capers, and red pepper, it remains pomodoro’s racier cousin. This version is made with fresh tomatoes; with a blender, chopping them is a breeze.
Big-Batch Salsa Verde
Here’s a zesty change of pace from tomato-based sauces — and it’s vegan-friendly, too. The fresh, tangy tomatillos are complemented by chili, garlic, onion, lime, and cilantro. This recipe ups the game with cumin and cloves, which add a subtle but interesting dimension of flavor.
Simple Basil Pesto Sauce
Made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, classic pesto is the simplest of sauces — but it provides a full-on rush of intense flavor. The word pesto comes from the Italian pestare, meaning to pound or grind, but that once-laborious job can now be done by your blender. It’s great with farfalle, tortellini, or any pasta with nooks and crannies to hold the sauce.
Guiltless Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce
The original Alfredo sauce used heavy cream and butter, but for today’s lighter tastes, this version achieves the same luscious result with low-fat milk, Neufchatel cheese and — believe it or not — cauliflower. By puréeing those ingredients in a blender, you’ll achieve the luxurious, velvety texture Alfredo sauce is known for.
Herb Garlic Mushroom Pasta
Dark cremini mushrooms, white wine, fresh tarragon, and chives create a dish that’s elegant and irresistible. And there’s no cream in the creamy, blender-made sauce — it’s made from cashews for a vegan dish that’s simply divine.
Cold Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles
Italy doesn’t have a monopoly on pasta, and Asian sauces speak a completely different language of sensual delight. This recipe, with the incomparable allure of sesame oil, ginger, and peanut butter, is meant to be served cold with spaghetti or Asian rice noodles.
Hidden Veg Pasta Sauce
Like my nephew, most kids love pasta. But veggies? Not so much. So just sneak them in with this sauce made from carrots, celery, bell pepper, and mineral-rich parsley. The sauce also has ground beef, so there’s plenty of protein, too. Blend it all together, and the kids will never wisen up to your trick.
Avocado Pasta Sauce
Rich creamy avocados — along with a supporting cast of onion, garlic, cilantro and friends — make an exquisite sauce that all comes together beautifully in the blender. Just garnish with pine nuts and serve.
Blender Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food — and just as comforting is how easy it is to make from scratch. All you have to do is combine the ingredients (including cheese, onions, Worcestershire sauce, flour and seasonings) in your blender. It’s perfect for a cozy winter meal.
Lemon Dill Aioli
This homemade aioli, flavored with garlic and dill, is wonderful with cold pasta. First combine lemon juice, eggs, garlic, dill, and salt in a blender; then slowly drip in the oil until the mixture emulsifies. Try your blender aioli with the tuna and penne salad recipe included on the same page — or improvise with cold-sliced chicken and other types of pasta.
No-Cook Blender Marinara Sauce
Busy days work up big appetites, but leave little time to cook. Here’s a blender-made marinara sauce — made with canned San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh basil — that delivers great Italian flavor in just five minutes.
Pasta With Pecorino and Pepper (Cacio E Pepe)
This simple sauce, made with nothing but pecorino romano and pepper, is simply superb. Use your blender to grate the cheese, combine it with pepper, and gradually stir in some of the hot pasta water. When the pasta is ready, toss in the sauce. Try it with egg tagliolini or bucatini.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce with Fresh Pasta
Made from butternut squash and heavy cream, this recipe delivers the taste of autumn in a smooth, satiny sauce. You’ll combine the squash, cream, and seasonings in a blender — but be sure to pulse, not purée, or you may wind up with whipped cream.