Red or White: Finding the Perfect Pasta Sauce

Red or white? This is one of the first things that I think of whenever I visit my favorite Italian restaurants in Manhattan, or even in any other part of the world. And no, I am not talking about wine. Rather, I am talking about pasta sauces. Which one is the better choice? While I am in no position to answer this question for you, the rest of this post will help you decide which one is better.


At Scarpetta, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, I love their pasta because they are made using fresh ingredients and naturally flavored with spices instead of artificial ingredients. In other restaurants, however, I could not say if you can expect that their dishes are healthy. A good way to gauge is to choose based on the sauce. Red sauce has lycopene, iron, calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. White sauces, on the other hand, have protein and calcium. However, they have a high level of saturated fat and cholesterol. With this, I would rather choose a red sauce, although this can still depend on the other ingredients used.


If you are a weight watcher, you are most probably counting the calories in the food that you consume. Typically, a red sauce contains 160 calories per cup. The tomato is the one responsible for the red color, which is healthy and has low calories. In contrast, a pasta with white sauce uses cream, milk, and flour. With this, you can expect that the calories will be higher, which is usually at 262 calories in each cup.


When deciding on which sauce is best for the pasta, you also need to think about the flavor that you need. If you want it to be creamy, you should eat a pasta with white sauce. This flavor is due to the use of cream or milk. On the other hand, if you want it a bit sour, you should look for a red sauce instead. This is because of the use of tomatoes. However, take note that the flavor will still vary depending on the other ingredients that are used in the pasta.

Pasta Shape 

Choosing the right sauce also depends on the shape of the pasta that you will be cooking. As a rule of thumb, for more delicate shapes, you need to choose a lighter sauce so that the pasta will not be overpowered. For larger shapes, heavier and richer sauces can prove to be the better option. For thin and long noodles, such as in the case of spaghetti and angel hair, tomato-based sauces are best. For flat and long noodles, on the other hand, richer and creamier sauces are preferred, which is why they are commonly paired with white sauces, such as in the case of a carbonara.

At the end of the day, it is all a matter of personal preference. Red or white, as long as you choose the right ingredients and you know the basic cooking techniques, it will be a mouthwatering treat. Join us in a cooking revolution (blog)