Simple pasta sauces

Pasta is a great camping standby. It’s easy to store when travelling and, especially when you get chance to buy fresh pasta, can be quick to cook. So, what you need is a repertoire of easy sauces to make your diners forget it’s pasta…again!

Incidentally, grains like bulgur wheat, couscous, orzo and quinoa are even faster to cook than pasta and taste delicious with pasta-type sauces.


Spicy, fragrant tomato sauce

I know! Who’s carrying saffron and cinnamon in their camping kit? If you happen to have them, great; if not, add some herbs. Delicious with a lemony-dressed salad.

  • Chopped red chilli
  • Four anchovy fillets
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon and saffron
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Jar or carton of passata or a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Optional – prawns, mussels or smoked tofu.
  1. Put the chilli and anchovies into a frying pan with a good splash of oil (out of the anchovy tin or jar if you like). How much chilli depends on your taste and the strength of your chilli (use a pinch of dried if fresh isn’t available).
  2. Add the cinnamon and saffron (and fish or tofu if you’re using either).
  3. Squash the garlic and add that, fry for a minute or so and then add the passata and bring to the boil.
  4. Taste for seasoning and add a squirt of lemon juice if it needs a bit of a lift. Done!

Deconstructed pesto

Basil for pasta sauces

We’ve never met a camper yet who’s taken their food processor along for the trip – not even the Dutch couple with their slow cooker camping next to the Loire. So, here’s a taste of fresh pesto without the grind.

Basil, pine-nuts, garlic, olive oil, parmesan (or any strong cheese, even malted yeast will be fine for the vegans), salt and pepper

  1. Dry-fry your pine-nuts till they’re just going brown. Remove from the pan.
  2. Add three tablespoons of  oil and cook the finely chopped garlic. You want it fragrant but not at all brown.
  3. Put the pine-nuts, garlic and oil into a bowl with a handful of torn basil leaves. Add pepper, but be careful with the salt because you’ll be adding salty cheese.
  4. When your pasta’s ready, drain and stir in the nut mixture and cheese.
  5. There are lots of variations to try – walnut and lemon, hazelnut and rosemary…

olives for sale

Al crudo

A raw sauce. How quick is that!

  • One tablespoon capers
  • Two tablespoons pitted black olives
  • Three anchovy fillets finely chopped
  • Alarge finely chopped tomato
  • Two tablespoons passata
  • Salt, pepper, basil
  1. Put everything in a pan with two to three tablespoons of oil, mix but don’t heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Put your pasta on to cook and put the pan with your sauce ingredients over the top like a lid.
  3. When the pasta’s cooked, drain (save the water) and pour in the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water if it needs loosening up.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil and sprinkle in some torn basil.

By the way, you can get passata in fairly small cartons rather than glass jars, which are much easier for carrying but not resealable. Zip the opened carton into a plastic bag for use the next day.

All our recipes serve two, so just multiply if you’re feeding more. If these recipes aren’t fast enough for you, have a look at our tasty cheats instead!

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