Pesto Sauce vs. Alfredo Sauce - Trattoria il Panino (2024)

Pasta dishes are a lot more complicated than you think! There are a bunch of different factors that all play a role in constructing the perfect meal. Certain sauces pair better with certain meats and shapes of pasta than others, so there’s a lot of thought that gets put into every recipe. Pasta sauce should be one of the first things on your mind when constructing a new dish, and pesto sauce and alfredo sauce are two of the most popular sauces out there. We’ll show you how to pick between the two below!

How Healthy Is Each Sauce?

If you’re looking specifically for which sauce is healthier than the other, you’ll have to take a look at the makeup of each sauce. Pesto sauce is constructed using parmesan cheese, salt, basil, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts. It has a pretty high sodium content unless you make it from scratch, but both versions have an added protein boost. Alfredo sauce is based on cream and cheese as its two primary ingredients. Neither sauce is going to win a health competition, but pesto is the superior option for that reason.

Pasta Noodles

As we mentioned earlier, certain types of pasta pair better with some sauces than others. The same thing is true for pesto and alfredo sauce! Thicker pasta sauces like alfredo pair best with long and flat noodles that are capable of absorbing the sauce without becoming soggy. This is why it works best with pasta shapes like fettuccine. Pesto, on the other hand, pairs best with rounded and slimmer noodles like spaghetti. Spaghetti noodles absorb olive oil-based sauces the best, which is why you’ll see them paired together so much.

Pasta Toppings

There are even certain meats and cheeses that pair better with some pasta sauces! In the case of alfredo sauce, pairing it with chicken results in a match made in heaven. Chicken works well with more flavorful sauces since there isn’t much flavor to the meat to begin with. Pesto sauce, on the other hand, pairs best with steak and tuna. Since the sauce isn’t as flavorful, it benefits from some added enhancement that meats like steak and tuna can provide it.

Pasta Delights at Trattoria Il Panino

Those looking for the best Italian dining experience on the east coast will find it at Trattoria Il Panino! From the dishes we serve to our desserts, drinks and ambiance, our aim has always been to greet our guests with an authentic Italian experience. For the best Italian cuisines in Boston’s North End, make a reservation with us today!

Pesto Sauce vs. Alfredo Sauce - Trattoria il Panino (2024)

FAQs

Pesto Sauce vs. Alfredo Sauce - Trattoria il Panino? ›

Thicker pasta sauces like alfredo pair best with long and flat noodles that are capable of absorbing the sauce without becoming soggy. This is why it works best with pasta shapes like fettuccine. Pesto, on the other hand, pairs best with rounded and slimmer noodles like spaghetti.

Is pesto healthier than pasta sauce? ›

The Bottom Line. Pesto is higher in calories than some sauces but it's also made with super-healthy ingredients, like basil, olive oil and nuts. I find it's a great way to add more flavor to pasta dishes and even vegetables and proteins.

Is pesto the same as pasta sauce? ›

Use Pesto the same way that you would use tomato sauce except, because it is so concentrated, you use much less. Pesto alla Genovese is much stronger in flavor than any tomato sauce. PESTO SHOULD NEVER BE “COOKED”. If you cook Pesto Sauce, you change the make up of the fresh basil and cause it to turn darker in color.

What is the difference between aglio e olio and Alfredo? ›

Aglio e olio-- garlic, olive oil and parsley; Alfredo-- butter, cream and freshly grated cheese served with fettuccine; Amatricana-- sauce of fresh tomatoes, chopped bacon, onion and garlic, served with grated Pecorino Romano cheese; Bolognese-- rich meat sauce flavored with chicken livers, wine, vegetables and nutmeg.

What is the most popular sauce for pasta? ›

Marinara Sauce

This is probably the most common form of pasta sauce, and for good reason too! Marinara sauce is typically made using tomatoes, garlic and other seasonings. You'll often see this in base lasagna dishes, spaghetti and meatballs, and other pasta staples.

Which is healthier, Alfredo or pesto? ›

It has a pretty high sodium content unless you make it from scratch, but both versions have an added protein boost. Alfredo sauce is based on cream and cheese as its two primary ingredients. Neither sauce is going to win a health competition, but pesto is the superior option for that reason.

What is the healthiest sauce for pasta? ›

The healthiest pasta sauces get most of their fat from olive oil (marinara) or olive oil and nuts (pesto), not cream or cheese (alfredo). And the good guys don't pile too much salt or sugar on top of your spaghetti. Here's how to find them. Check the photos for some great-tasting Best Bites and Honorable Mentions.

Why should pesto not be heated? ›

The primary ingredients in pesto — basil and olive oil — are sensitive to heat. Basil can lose its vibrant color and fresh flavor when exposed to high temperatures, turning it a darker, more muted green. Olive oil can also lose some of its health benefits and can develop a bitter taste when heated excessively.

What pasta goes best with pesto sauce? ›

Pesto Sauce

This fresh and fragrant pasta sauce is served uncooked, so choose a pasta shape that won't overwhelm it. Similar to oil-based sauces, pesto is served best with longer cuts of pasta, like the corkscrew shape of Fusilli. Pesto works best with Bucatini, Capellini, thinner Spaghettini, and Fettuccine.

How much pesto should I add to pasta? ›

In Italy, you'll find that chefs use just enough pesto to coat the pasta, and they certainly don't allow the dish to drown in it. As a very rough guide, your pesto should weigh about 2/3 the weight of the dried pasta you are cooking.

Is cacio e pepe similar to Alfredo? ›

Cacio e pepe is made by emulsifying pasta water with grated cheese and black pepper. It clumps so easily. Alfredo has an image problem. Americans think of it as pasta draped in a cream sauce made of heavy cream and cheese, but the original version is thinner and creamy from an emulsion of butter and grated cheese.

What's the difference between Alfredo pasta and carbonara? ›

Alfredo is made from butter, parsley, heavy cream and minced garlic, whereas carbonara is made from pecorino romano, eggs, black pepper and guanciale (ingredients seem to vary for the sauces depending on the recipe). In Italy carbonara is made without cream, adding cream to the sauce is an American thing it seems.

What is the most common sauce in Italy? ›

Carbonara Sauce

The most beloved sauce in Rome (and all over the world) is a cornerstone dish of Italian cuisine that has been imitated, debated, and confused with lesser sauces.

Why is Rao's sauce so expensive? ›

While price is typically reflective of the various costs associated with production, packaging and distribution, Rao's also uses it as a selling point. The high price point differentiates Rao's sauce from its competitors since many consumers see it as an indicator of quality.

Is pesto unhealthy or healthy? ›

Because its ingredients include olive oil, nuts, and cheese, pesto can be high in calories and fat. However, the fat is primarily unsaturated and may have heart health benefits. Pesto is also full of antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage.

Which is healthier, pesto or marinara? ›

If your main goal is to cut calories and fat, go for the marinara. If, however, you'd like to add some extra nutrients via greens such as basil or kale, and nuts, such as pine nuts or walnuts, opt for the pesto every once in a while. It's a tasty alternative to marinara, and a little goes a long way.

Is pesto pasta healthy for weight loss? ›

Given all of the above, pesto can undoubtedly be considered a healthy food, and as long as you keep track of portions, it can also be part of a diet that supports a healthy weight. Pesto is nutrient-dense, and because of its fat content, it's also calorically dense.

Is pesto healthier than tomato? ›

As you would expect, pesto's wider variety of ingredients means it does slightly better in the vitamin and mineral stakes. Pesto outsmarts tomato sauce in many of these, but the pasta sauce still provides a sizeable chunk of your recommended daily targets.

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