Are you craving pasta tonight but don't have the time (or don't want to) spend three hours making a ragù? We don’t blame you, and we’ve got a solution so obvious we honestly can’t believe we didn’t think of it sooner.
You know those condiments in your fridge? The jars you only used a little of and now don’t know what to do with? Well, get ready for the biggest quick-dinner-fix-discovery since the microwave: Those awesome indie condiments (no, not your Heinz 57 or French’s yellow mustard) are your next pasta hack. Game changer! You don’t even need to add oil or butter (unless, you know, you want to – you do you).
Tapenades are an easy choice, as a lot of them contain the same savory elements you’d already reach for when making a sauce (artichokes, sundried tomatoes, olives and Parmesan) – but we like to get a little crazier here at Mouth HQ. Case in point: You think hot sauce would be weird on a pasta, but warm it up, toss with spaghetti, and you’ve got yourself our take on a spicy Italian arrabbiata sauce.
Below, seven of our favorite indie condiments that we love to toss with pasta when we want something satisfying but don't want to work for it:
Artichoke Parmesan Tapenade – This just makes sense. Artichokes + Parmesan = our favorite things to have with a cold pasta dish (made with bow ties, of course).
Inner Beauty Hot Sauce – Our CEO Craig is obsessed with this stuff. He’s been saying for more than 20 years that it’s “good on literally everything.” He’s not wrong. Warm up the sauce, add some diced chicken and toss with your favorite pasta. Be warned: This stuff is spiiiiiiiiicy (which also makes it perfect paired with a crisp white).
Fig and Olive Tapenade – Olives and figs. Salty and sweet. Proof that opposites attract. Mission figs give this Kalamata olive tapenade a sweet, fruity edge and a thick, spreadable texture. Toss this with a short pasta like gemelli and top with dollops of goat cheese.
Hatch Chile Pesto – Hatch chiles are a special variety of chile grown in and around Hatch, New Mexico. The soil of that part of New Mexico is unlike anywhere else, and the peppers are planted, harvested and roasted in a special way that adds an earthy, nuanced complexity. We like this pesto twirled into spaghetti (or zucchini noodles, if you’re into that kind of thing).
Olive and Parmesan Tapenade – What's better than creamy cheese paired with the mellow salt of olives? Nothing. This tapenade pairs classic Parmesan and Asiago with buttery Kalamatas, the bright tang of capers and lemon juice and a happy harmony of basil and oregano. A no brainer.
Chimichurri Sauce – You know chimichurri – that amazing, uncooked, usually green Argentinean herb sauce that goes so well with steak. Did you know that you can use it in ways that have nothing to do with meat? Elvio's Chimichurri is as versatile and as easy as pesto. But spicier!
Sun-Dried Tomato Olive Tapenade – Sun-dried tomatoes can be, well, a little 1982. But this sun-dried tomato olive tapenade is so absurdly delicious, we could care less about being trendy. This oily (in the best possible way) spread is packed with candy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes, salty Kalamata olives and tons of garlic (a.k.a., all the things you want in a pasta sauce).
Don't worry: If you don't have one million half-used jars sitting in your fridge (like us), you can still get your quick pasta fix by using small-batch jarred sauces – we've got those, too.