What is the core of your pasta dinner?

I’m not sure what you meant by “toppings”; the core of any pasta dish I make is usually the vegetables and olives, which didin’t seem to be covered by any of the other options, so I ticked that.

I chose other because it really depends on what I’m making.
Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta with Lentils, - It’s about the other ingredients, the pasta (ditali usually, is an accompanyment to the beans or the lentils. There is no real “sauce” per se, although in both cases there is a measure of tomato in it.

Pasta alla Carbonara, Penne alla Vodka - the sauce in both these dishes shares the stage with the pasta, a duet if you will. One without the other just isn’t nearly as satisfying.

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, Fettucini Alfredo - this is where the pasta has a chance to shine. No amount of garlic or extra virgin olive oil will make a lousy quality or poorly cooked spaghetti taste good, and in the case of the latter a nice fresh egg noodle is the only acceptable pasta.

To me this question is a bit like asking what is the most important element in a song - the lyrics, the voice, or the instumental arrangement? It really depends on the song.

I chose other because I don’t think you can really pick one thing - it’s how everything works together. What’s the core ingredient of lasagna? Well, you can’t have lasagna without pasta, and you have to have a sauce of some sort, and there must be cheese (would that be a topping?). The character of the dish comes from the harmony of the ingredients working together.

Chefguy asks if we would want the pasta or the sauce; I want both! I mean, really, who would want to eat naked pasta OR sauce by itself?

The cheese.

You probably need to stop eating that Ragu crap.

:rolleyes: Yeah, eating a fine pesto by the spoonful or a bowlful of alfredo sauce sounds real appetizing.

Given his description, it sounds like he’s talking about Sunday gravy, which can basically serve as a stew on its own. In that case (and that case only), I would prefer the sauce to the pasta.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that there aren’t meatballs or other meats in an Alfredo, but then I’ve never eaten at Olive Garden. I’ve eaten what you call Sunday gravy as a stew all by itself, or added beans to make a dynamite fagioli. And I’m really not a big fan of pesto.

That’s a bit of a contradiction, no? “I don’t know why most people prefer to smother the noodle taste in sauce. . . . I SMOTHER IT IN BUTTER, GARLIC SALT AND PEPPER.”

You’re really answering “sauce.” The noodles don’t have a whole lot of flavor on their own.

I guess it is if you change what the other person says, but otherwise, no.

I discovered a little trick recently at a Meatball House that turned their already, really good Spaghetti and Meatballs into something truly excellent. They served an excllent ciabatta with the usual EvOO and a little plastic tub of real garlic butter. We took the leftover garlic butter and a leftover piece of bread home and I added the garlic butter to the leftover spaghetti and meatballs mixing it in the next day… it was fantastic and made the tomato sauce luxurious and velvety, really upped the flavor.

The Pasta. I’ll eat pasta with no sauce, but I won’t eat sauce with no pasta.

While there are certainly some stews served on spaghetti which could also stand on their own (Cincinnati chili comes to mind), I wouldn’t describe any of those as “spaghetti sauce”. It’s not “spaghetti with stew-sauce”, it’s “stew served on spaghetti”.

Sure, I see your point. Depends on how expansive your definition for “spaghetti sauce” is.

My preferred way to eat pasta is plain, maybe with a little salt sprinkled on. Frankly, I only add sauce because I figure it’s healthier that way.

The sauce IS the meat! The meat IS the sauce!

The sauce must flow!!

When we make pasta for dinner, we make the pasta from scratch. We also make the sauce from scratch. The sauce simmers all day, the pasta takes hours to make. I cannot really say that one or the other is core.

Except when I make pasta con sarde (sauce has sardines/anchovies/capers/pine nuts). I love it, but my gf only tolerates it. I could eat it without pasta.

Me too. I use very little sauce. I don’t wan’t it to cover up the taste of the pasta.

The recipe I have for the above-mentioned sauce (or gravy, if you prefer) is an authentic old-country Italian meat sauce recipe. You can call it a stew if you wish, but it’s intended for pasta.

I hate dry or plain pasta, I had to ask for extra sauce for my spaghetti at that meatball house I was talkin’ about. everything was great but they seriously undersauced my pasta, which was my only complaint. But maybe it was a function of the dish- I had the chix parm and it was super crispy on top of the spaghetti and sauce, no sauce and mozz melted over… just a crispy cutlet sprinkled with a bit of fresh grated parm, so maybe they were trying to keep it from getting soggy?.. I don’t like it drenched but there wasn’t even enough to coat my spaghetti and give it a red cast.