So, I get it, you are in the mood for some pasta, but all you have in your cupboard is pizza sauce. Can you use the pizza sauce for pasta? Will it taste right? Is pizza sauce and pasta sauce the same? Let’s answer it all right now!
If you’ve already read my post about using the marinara sauce for pizza (if you haven’t you should go check that out too), then you might think that this article is going to go a pretty similar way.
And while yes, I still think people should feel free to try anything they want to try when it comes to cooking and eating, I personally would never use pizza sauce for pasta.
Throughout this post, I’ll try to explain why that’s the case, but if you’re still somebody who is thinking about trying it, then I say go ahead! I hope you enjoy it, but it’s just not for me.
Why I Think Pizza Sauce Should NEVER Be Used With Pasta
OK, I’m going to be honest. For me, the base of the pizza is rarely the star of the show, especially when I’m using pizza sauce.
To me, pizza sauce is a vehicle for carrying all the other amazing flavors of my pizza – the cheese, the toppings, the delicious crispy base – but it isn’t the star of the show by a long shot.
I’m not saying pizza sauce is bland because it isn’t. I enjoy the fresh tomato flavors as much as the next person, but I just don’t think it sings by itself.
Likewise, pasta, for me, is the vehicle in any pasta dish. It carries all the other flavors for me – the sauce, the toppings, the cheese – but I wouldn’t say pasta is delicious in its own right.
So then, it makes no sense for me to put two vehicles of flavor together because then I’m not getting those punchy, delicious flavors that I’m expecting whenever I make a pasta dish.
Serving pasta with pizza sauce doesn’t make sense in theory, but I also have experience in practice too, and the results were exactly as I’d expected.
The Time I DID Use Pizza Sauce With Pasta
One thing I hope to achieve by writing blogs like this one, ones where I’m sharing my experiences with others so they have an idea about what might happen if they’re trying something new for themselves, is that they will feel more confident about trying something new too.
Unfortunately, today is not going to be one of those cases. Rather, I’m going to tell you about the time I used pizza sauce for my pasta, and why I still regret it to this day.
A slight overreaction? Perhaps, but it’s still not a mistake I’ll ever make again.
To set the scene for you, I was planning on making a marinara sauce to go with my pasta and meatballs. It was going to be delicious.
However, I knew I’d be having a busy day when I planned to make it, so I thought that I would just make some marinara sauce the night before, and leave it in the refrigerator to reheat the next day.
Or at least, that’s how it should have gone.
Cut to me lying in bed the night before my big pasta dish, and me sitting up with a start as I remembered that I’d forgotten to make the marinara sauce. ‘No worries,’ I told myself. ‘I can always make it tomorrow.‘
And, ladies and gentlemen, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the years, it’s that when I tell myself I’ll do something tomorrow that should have been done today, I almost never do that something.
So, as I’m staring down at my stove the next day, with my pasta boiling and my meatballs in the oven, I decided to cheat.
I had pizza sauce in the refrigerator already, and that’s practically identical to marinara sauce, right?
Pizza sauce, as it turns out, is called pizza sauce for a reason. It’s a sauce specifically designed for pizzas. And let me tell you, pizza is where it should stay.
Pizza sauce is very thin, it doesn’t pack a tonne of flavor, and it isn’t as vibrant as marinara sauce either, so it left a lot to be desired.
Even so, I thought it would still taste great with my pasta and meatballs at the time, so I went ahead and threw it into a pan to warm through before adding it to my pasta and meatballs. And the results?
Worst. Meal. Ever.
OK. Maybe not the _worst _meal ever, but it was definitely one of the more disappointing meals I’ve had in my life.
I’d started out with such high hopes for my meal that night, homemade marinara sauce, fresh meatballs, and some delicious pasta. Instead, I got a watery, flavorless bowl of pasta with some chunks of meatball, and it just wasn’t what I’d bargained for.
So, would I ever use pizza sauce with pasta again? No, I absolutely would not.
I Wouldn’t, But Can You?
I wrote this blog post because I was specifically asked ‘can you use pizza sauce for pasta’, so I suppose it’s only fair that I finish off answering that question directly. So, can you?
Yes, you can, but I wouldn’t. I’ve been there and done that and now have the disappointment to live with, but that doesn’t mean I’d ever say you couldn’t try pizza sauce with pasta yourself.
I’d certainly advise adding some punchier flavors, like plenty of cheese or different herbs and spices, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with pizza sauce to find some different uses that you might like.
Just because I don’t like pizza sauce with my pasta doesn’t mean you won’t. Like everything in life, we all have different tastes, and maybe pizza sauce in pasta is one that is to your liking.
If you are going to use pizza sauce for pasta though, you might want to keep it quiet from the pasta traditionalists (yes, there are pasta traditionalists just like there are pizza traditionalists) because I’m fairly certain they’d faint if they knew you were using pizza sauce with your pasta.
But hey, just because others say you shouldn’t, doesn’t mean you can’t!