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Italian Sauces

Italian Sauces

The most popular Italian sauces include:

Spaghetti sauce – made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, bell peppers
Arrabbiata sauce - spicy hot tomato based, with chili peppers
Putanesca sauce - tomato sauce with olives, capers and garlic
Alfredo sauce - cheese and butter based
Pesto sauce - basil based
Bolognese sauce – made with ground beef and tomatoes
Pizza sauce - thick tomato sauce

 History of sauces in Italy

One cannot speak about Italian pasta without mentioning of the many sauces that always accompany it. 
The sauces were at first "white", i.e.  mainly made of cheese.
There are historic tales of cheese lasagna or ravioli and macaroni topped with lots of grated Parmesan cheese.  With the arrival of the spices from the East, in particular ginger, cinnamon and saffron, the ingredients radically changed for the rich who could afford them.
The spices in the dough and toppings made the difference between the tables of the poor and those of the rich. Also sugar was used to sweeten sauces of pasta dishes. Sweet and spicy created a contrast greatly appreciated at first only at the noble’s tables, and later in the 18th century these also found their way to the Italian taverns. 
In the Renaissance, along with spicy, came sauces based on meat and vegetables. In addition to the cookbooks of the court, recipes started to be published typical of some Italian regions, clearly inspired by the products offered by the local land. 
In these local cookbooks, we find popular condiments that are still used even the times and taste have changed, such as the first recipe of the delicious pesto sauce. 
The "white" sauces lasted for long time until approximately 1830 when the tomato came. With the arrival of tomato, pasta dishes take on different colors and flavors. 
Pasta is no longer considered a complement to meat dishes but the main dish of Italian cuisine, the "first course." We find in several regional cookbooks of the second half of 19th century pasta with the tomato sauce. 
The pasta sauces become varied,  meat based such as the famous Bolognese sauce  or seasonings with  fish such as sardines and anchovies  typical from the Sicily region, or sauces much simpler such as  arrabbiata or cheese and pepper, typical of Latium and the capital Rome. 
Pasta sauce become more delicate and traditional recipes were retouched and lightened. 
Currently, the pasta dish is often eaten as a main dish, topped with tomato sauce or lightly cooked vegetables or spaghetti with fish or shellfish.
One creates now new combinations, times ago deemed as risky, such as seafood with mushrooms, squash with shrimp, tuna with tomato and eggplant.