How To

Getting Saucy: 3 Pasta Sauce Recipes for Easy, Intermediate or Expert Chefs

Getting Saucy: 3 Pasta Sauce Recipes for Easy, Intermediate or Expert Chefs

Oct 10, 2018

October marks National Pasta Month which begs the question: what is pasta without the sauce? We’re not quite sure but it’s definitely a world we don’t want to live in.

Thankfully, our chefs have come to the rescue! Before you think “oh no, not another impossible restaurant recipe”, we included one for any skill level and vetted every recipe to ensure it’s home-friendly.

cooking down tomatoes in a pot

Pantry 101

Before we start, let’s make sure your pantry is stocked with all of the essentials:

Olive Oil
Butter
Salt
Pepper (black, white, crushed red)

 

Beginner: Classic Basil Pesto

By Chef/Partner Mychael Bonner of Saranello’s

pesto ingredients overhead image

A super easy recipe that you’ll likely already have half the ingredients in your pantry. Whip this up for a last-minute dinner that’ll be ready in just a few minutes.

Main Ingredients: basil, pine nuts, garlic

Classic Basil Pesto

Ingredients
2 cloves fresh garlic
4 cups fresh basil, lightly packed
¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
½ tsp. black pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Method
1. Combine garlic, basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
2. Continue to pulse and add the olive oil until it’s incorporated.
3. Transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl and add cheese.
4. Keep covered in the regrigerator for up to ten days.

To download a pdf of Saranello’s Pesto recipe, click here and to see three more pesto variations, click here.


Beginner-Intermediate: Bolognese

Courtesy of il Porcellino

il Porcellino gnocchi bolognese

The weather is turning and there’s nothing better than a homemade meat sauce to kick away the cold. Don’t let the laundry list of ingredients intimidate you, you’re likely to have most of these in your pantry already! We recommend it with a nice potato gnocchi but pairs well with any pasta your heart desires.

Main Ingredients: ground beef, canned tomatoes

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef
2 Tbsp. unsalted cold butter, cubed and divided
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped and divided
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
½ cup tomato juice
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

Method
1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up meat, until caramelized, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from pot and set aside.
2. Add 1 Tbsp. butter, carrot, onion and garlic to pot; cook until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in rosemary and reserved beef; season with salt and black pepper.
3. Pour in crushed tomatoes; bring to a rapid simmer and cook 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

To download a pdf of il Porcellino’s Gnocchi Bolognese recipe, click here.


Intermediate: Lobster Mac & Cheese

Courtesy of Shaw’s Crab House

Shaws Lobseter Mac and Cheese
Shaw’s Lobster Mac and Cheese

Whoever said seafood and cheese don’t go together clearly has not eaten at Shaw’s. A decadent version of our favorite childhood meal, the Lobster Mac & Cheese is not for the faint of heart.

Main Ingredients: lobster, Merkt’s cheddar cheese, brie and parmesan cheeses

Ingredients
5 cups heavy cream
4 oz. Merkt’s cheddar cheese
4 oz. brie cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon lobster base
1 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 teaspoon water)
1 lb. cavatappi pasta
12 oz. cooked Maine lobster meat *claw and knuckle preferred
Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley
Toasted panko

Method

1. Remove rind from brie cheese. In a large sauce pot combine heavy cream, lobster base, brie cheese, and white and red pepper. Bring to a boil.
2. Slowly add Merkt’s cheddar cheese, whisking constantly. Return to a simmer and add cornstarch slowly.
3. Once thickened to coat a spoon, remove from heat.
4. Add parmesan cheese and blend using hand blender for 1 minute.
5. Bring a large pot to a rapid boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente.
6. Remove from heat and drain pasta.
7. Toss cooked pasta with cheese sauce and cooked lobster meat.
8. Portion mac & cheese into dishes. Top each dish with fresh parsley, grated parmesan and toasted breadcrumbs.

To download a pdf of Shaw’s Lobster Mac & Cheese recipe, click here.


Expert: Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi

By Chef Mychael Bonner of Saranello’s

Saranellos spinach and ricotta gnocchi

Okay, okay, this one is more making the pasta rather than the sauce, but if you’re at this level of epicurean achievement we figure you’re up for the challenge. So here goes:

Main Ingredients: spinach, ricotta, 00 flour

Ingredients
3 cups Spinach, washed
1 ¼ lbs Ricotta, drained
1 Egg yolk
1 cup Grana Padana Parmesan, freshly grated
1 cup fresh Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp ground Black Pepper
½ tsp ground Nutmeg
½ lb 00 Flour
Method
1. Cook the spinach in boiling water until very tender, approximately 5 minutes. Cool in ice water.
2. Puree the cooked spinach in a food processor until very smooth.
3. Place the puree into cheesecloth, then place the cheesecloth in a strainer to drain for 30 minutes.
4. Wring out any excess liquid from the cloth. Remove the drained spinach from the cheesecloth and place into a large bowl.
5. Add the ricotta, egg yolk, parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Using hands, mix together well.
6. Using a pastry scraper, cut the 00 flour into the spinach mixture until the flour is fully incorporated.
7. Place the mixture into a pastry bag. Dust the preparation area with flour, and pipe out the spinach mixture in a single row. Cut into 1 inch logs.
8. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook gnocchi for 2-4 minutes, until they float to the top.
9. Gently toss with sauce, add additional parmesan as desired and serve.

To download a pdf of Saranello’s Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi recipe, click here.

Want to take your pasta making to the next level? Check out all of Mychael Bonner’s tips for making pasta yourself.


You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
#LettuceLookBack: 18 of our Favorite Moments of 2018
Dec 10, 2018

It’s been 47 years since we opened the doors of our first restaurant, but 2018 was a year of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Holiday Happenings Throughout December 2018
Dec 10, 2018

Kids are out on winter break,  the smell of baking spices filling the air and holiday tunes…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 10, 2018

If you are looking to dine out this Christmas Eve, we have restaurants that are open on Monday,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
An Italian Christmas: Where to Enjoy the Feast of the Seven Fishes
Dec 7, 2018

In southern regions of Italy, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is the customary meal on Christmas Eve…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 6, 2018

Do you have plans yet for New Year's Eve? We've got you covered with special dinners, parties and…

read more >
How To
8 Ways to Use Your Lettuce Gift Card This Holiday Season
Dec 3, 2018

Racking your brain for the perfect holiday gift? Here's an idea, how about a Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Day 2019: Chicagoland
Nov 28, 2018

New Year's Day is a time for relaxing and we're celebrating with everything from brunch buffets to…

read more >
How To
How to Tackle Brunch at Shaw’s Schaumburg
Nov 24, 2018

Hey everyone! Kailley of Kailley Lindman Photography here! I'm a food-writer-turned-photographer,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Nov 24, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Nov 22, 2018

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Best Spots for Group Dining
Nov 20, 2018

You finally got the whole crew to agree on the same day and time, now you just have to find the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants
Nov 18, 2018

Finding gluten-free friendly restaurants has gotten a lot easier than it used to be. At Lettuce…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Shaw’s Pumpkin Pie
Nov 17, 2018

End Thanksgiving dinner on a sweet note with this iconic pumpkin pie from Shaw's Crab House.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Late Night & Live Music with Lettuce
Nov 15, 2018

Night owls rejoice - select Lettuce restaurants and nightclubs offer everything from late-night food…

read more >
How To
How To: Get Cozy with Pappardelle alla Porcellino
Nov 7, 2018

With fall in full swing, what’s better than cozying up with a big bowl of homemade pasta? The team…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Throwing a Holiday Party? Don’t Forget These 4 Things!
Nov 7, 2018

Before your friends and family come over and gather around your table, there are a few tips and…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Saranello’s Focaccia Stuffing with Italian Sausage
Nov 4, 2018

You're sure to be stuffed after having Saranello's delicious Focaccia Stuffing with Italian…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Nov 1, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 20, 2018

'Tis the season for everyone's favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. Whether you're preparing pumpkin…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Oct 19, 2018

If you're anything like us, you plan your weekend around brunch. Here is your guide to all of our…

read more >
How To
il Porcellino’s Gnocchi Bolognese
Oct 17, 2018

Cold weather have you staying at home for dinner? il Porcellino's Gnocchi Bolognese is the perfect…

read more >
In The Restaurants
It’s Apple Season: Where To Eat ‘Em
Oct 16, 2018

Yeah, yeah, pumpkin this and pumpkin that, but let us not forget about our other favorite fall…

read more >
How To
Getting Saucy: 3 Pasta Sauce Recipes for Easy, Intermediate or Expert Chefs
Oct 10, 2018

October marks National Pasta Month which begs the question: what is pasta without the sauce? We're…

read more >
How To
The Art of Pasta Making
Oct 1, 2018

Food trends come and go but hearty, delicious pasta is forever. Whether a fan of rigatoni, macaroni…

read more >
How To
#SavortheSummer (Flavors)
Sep 26, 2018

It’s sad but true - the summer is coming to an end. While we here at Lettuce are bummed that our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Aug 10, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
For the Love of Lobster: Shaw’s Lobster Festival
Jul 30, 2018

What better way for Shaw's Crab House Chicago and Shaw's Crab House Schaumburg to show some love…

read more >
In The Restaurants
4th of July 2018
Jul 3, 2018

It's that time of year to don your red, white and blue, fire up the grill and, of course, celebrate…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Somm Picks: Top Bottles Under $50
Jun 26, 2018

Searching through wine lists can be a daunting task. Thumbing through dozens of pages filled with…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Re-Create Saranello’s Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi at Home
Jun 20, 2018

We know that everyone's schedule is busy between work, getting to the grocery store, soccer games…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Oh Marie, Take Us To Summer
Jun 14, 2018

Summer is in full swing and there's a newfound spring in Marie's step with il Porcellino's warm…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Unconventional Wine Regions of the World
May 24, 2018

Everyone loves a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but lately, our LEYE Wine…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Here’s How to Make Pesto
May 21, 2018

Summer is upon us and one of our favorite seasonal condiments is pesto! You can make pesto with…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Now Order a Whole Alaskan King Crab at Shaw’s Chicago
May 8, 2018

After a trip out to Akutan, Alaska last fall, the team from Shaw's Crab House in Chicago was in awe…

read more >
In The Restaurants
21 Dishes for Celiac Awareness Month
May 7, 2018

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so we've rounded up our favorite gluten-free dishes that you have to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
James Beard Eats Week 2018
Apr 17, 2018

James Beard Eats Week is back! From April 27-May 7 show your support of aspiring Chicago culinary…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Cynarffogato at il Porcellino
Apr 5, 2018

Amaro, coffee and gelato is as close as you're going to get to heaven on earth. Meet…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Celebrate Passover 2018
Mar 29, 2018

Join us for your Passover dinner this year on March 30 and March 31. Select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >

Recent Posts

In The Restaurants
Pappy Van Winkle is Back and Bub City’s Got It
Dec 12, 2018

Even if you’re not a whiskey aficionado, trust us when we say there’s something special about…

read more >
In The Restaurants
How Lettuce Does Dinner and a (Holiday) Movie
Dec 11, 2018

It’s cold outside and we know that all you want to do is cozy up on the couch with some comfort…

read more >
How To
The Perfect Party Appetizers
Dec 11, 2018

A well-crafted appetizer is the perfect way to make sure your guests won't go hungry so you can…

read more >
In The Restaurants
#LettuceLookBack: 18 of our Favorite Moments of 2018
Dec 10, 2018

It’s been 47 years since we opened the doors of our first restaurant, but 2018 was a year of…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Osteria Via Stato’s Cranberry Cello
Dec 10, 2018

Sipping on Osteria Via Stato's Cranberry Cello is always a great idea, and we're here to help you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Holiday Happenings Throughout December 2018
Dec 10, 2018

Kids are out on winter break,  the smell of baking spices filling the air and holiday tunes…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Metro D.C. Area
Dec 10, 2018

Happy Holidays everyone! We are here to help you celebrate Christmas Eve with delicious meals around…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Los Angeles
Dec 10, 2018

It's time for Christmas Eve in sunny California! Spend your holiday with us at one of our Stella…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Twin Cities
Dec 10, 2018

Twin Cities, Christmas Eve is just around the corner and we want to help you celebrate. Big Bowl and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Chicagoland
Dec 10, 2018

If you are looking to dine out this Christmas Eve, we have restaurants that are open on Monday,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Christmas Eve 2018: Las Vegas
Dec 10, 2018

Celebrating Christmas Eve in Vegas? Here are a few of our restaurants open on Monday, December 24.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
New Year’s Eve 2018: Los Angeles
Dec 9, 2018

Celebrate New Year's Eve at one of our Stella Barra Pizzeria locations! Perfect for the entire…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!