The Ideal Herbs and Spices for Pasta Sauces

You simply cannot resist the aroma which comes from the kitchen when pasta is cooked. The amazing aroma and flavor of these Italian dishes come from the herbs and spices used for their making. If you like preparing your own sauce, instead of getting a ready-made one from the store, you will certainly benefit from learning about the great aromatic ingredients, which make a traditionally delicious dish simply outstanding.

Tomato Sauces

This is the true classic, when it comes to pasta sauce. It has great aroma and flavor of its own, especially when fresh ripe tomatoes are used for its making. Still, the herbs and spices will add greatly to the dish.

There are three main types of herbs which are virtually mandatory for this dish. The first one is basil. It has fresh and slightly peppery flavor. The next one is oregano. It adds a warm and slightly bitter flavor. The third one is garlic. While the first two are added to the tomato paste after it has started cooking, garlic, which can be finely chopped or pounded, is added beforehand to the oil. Thyme and bay leaf can also be added to the tomato paste to make it more aromatic.

When you serve the ready pasta dish, you can sprinkle fresh parsley on top. This is optional since not everyone likes the flavor and the taste of this herb. In general, it is one of the traditional and most widely used ingredients in Italian dishes.


If you cook spaghetti Bolognese, you can readily add all of the above-mentioned pasta herbs and spices plus several other ones which are traditionally used for flavoring meat. Cumin is a great spice to use in small amounts. It is aromatic and a bit spicy. Ground black pepper will also add both rich aroma and spicy flavor to the dish. Generally, this spice goes excellently with all types of meats. Rosemary is another great choice as it has a slightly woody aroma with lemon and pine notes. Just make sure that you use a little bit of it.

White Sauces

When you make white pasta sauce with cream, butter and some parmesan, you can use a great variety of herbs and spices. Bay leaf is a great choice for its subtle aroma. Marjoram is the less strong alternative to cumin. You can readily combine it with ground black pepper. You should definitely consider using sage for its slightly lemon-like taste and scent. Freshly chopped parsley sprinkled on top of the dish will make it absolutely perfect. This herb is a superb addition which you will totally love.


The classic herb for Italian dishes, basil, is great for pasta with seafood. You will definitely benefit from adding bay leaf as well. It is traditionally used in fish and seafood marinades to provide unique aroma. Chives are great especially when combined with a little bit of lemon juice. If you want somewhat more exotic bitter-sweet taste, you can add anise.

You are now ready for cooking the most delicious pasta sauces with fabulous herbs and spices.

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