What is the core of your pasta dinner?

I was making dinner tonight and thinking about how it’s called “Spaghetti & Meatballs”, and yet the meatballs are really the CORE of the meal, to me at least. The spaghetti (or in my case tonight, the cheese-filled ravioli) is mainly there to help fill you up, but the meatballs make it a dinner. What say you?

The sauce.


Whether it be a fresh marinara, a vodka, a bolognese, carbonara, or just sauteed garlic and olive oil, it’s all about the sauce.

I’d argue that with fresh-made pasta, it’s almost divided equally between sauce and pasta, but I’d give the slight edge to the sauce.

Just about any schlub can make pasta, a great sauce is an art.

The pasta. If only because I think of it as “spaghetti with red sauce” or “pappardelle with pesto,” not the other way around.

I like the taste of noodles. I don’t know why most people prefer to smother the noodle taste in sauce. One of my favorite pasta dishes is noodles seasoned with butter, garlic salt, and pepper. Also, after a regular spaghetti with marinara, I like to sop up the remaining sauce with an added handful of noodles.

The pasta and sauce are on about equal footing, but I voted pasta. I tend to prefer “simple” sauces (we’re talking like three or four ingredients), so everything has to be really good to work, and the pasta itself is accentuated more.

I vote the sauce. Change the pasta and you barely notice. Change the sauce and you’ve got an entirely different meal.

Looks like I’m the only “other” so far. For me, it’s the garlic. If I’m out of garlic, there’s no point even bothering to make spaghetti.

Other than that, though, it’s the noodles, then the sauce. I usually don’t even bother with any sort of meat with it.

The pasta. There’s only one brand of tomato sauce I can eat (Hunt’s 4 Cheeses), and while I’m happy that it moistens meatballs while they cook I wouldn’t want my spaghetti covered in it; I usually wipe as much sauce off them as possible before eating. I never really liked spaghetti sauce, though, even before the using the vast majority would give me hives from the spices. And as for meatballs, they’re okay I guess, but not as good as the spaghetti. Spaghetti, with a little butter and sea salt, is awesome.

The sauce, of course. That’s where the flavor is. Eat some pasta with nothing on it. Now eat a spoonful of sauce with no pasta. Which would you rather have to live on as a castaway? For me, it’s no contest: tomato base with meatballs, braised beef ribs, and braised pork and herbs.


I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer this one at first, but I read most of the responses, and I thought “what do I spend the most time and effort making?” Typically, the answer is the sauce. Red sauce involves cooking meat and tomatoes, and adding seasonings. Even if the sauce is from a jar, I’ll often add stuff to it. The pasta? Throw it in boiling water and stir it every once in awhile.

I guess it’s a bit of a toss-up between the pasta and the sauce (spaghetti is very different from penne, etc.), but the sauce wins, just barely.

I have to go with the sauce because sometimes I don’t use meat, I just make sauce and pasta. Aside from the shapes and colors, how much difference is there in pasta (with the exception of whole wheat pasta)?

I had a debate with a friend one time about meatballs, whether to make the meatballs with the flavors (garlic, parmesan, italian breadcrumbs, etc.) so the meat gives flavor to the sauce, or flavor the sauce with the garlic and herbs and let it simmer so the sauce adds flavor to the meatballs. I’m all for putting the flavors into the sauce and let it simmer for a nice long time.

The pasta.


Wow, you’ve managed to turn my stomach at the idea of anyone trying to live on sauce. :eek:

Da “Soß and Balls” are most 'portant. Gotta haf the right Gauge of Spaghetti. No Spaghettini, ever no how. Angel Hair can have its place… but not at my Italian Dinners.

The pasta may be the substance of the meal. But the sauce is the character.

The sauce definitely .

The sauce. Followed by the toppings - a very good quality grated parmesan really gives it a boost.