The Ingredient Nigel Slater Uses To Give Pasta A Creamy, Sharp Flavor

Pasta, in whatever shape or form it comes in, is an easy-to-make dish — as long as you avoid common pasta-making mistakes. Even better, pasta is endlessly versatile as you can pair the starchy base with almost any kind of topping or sauce you'd like. There is a wide variety of pasta sauces (or for some, gravy) to choose from as well, and common forms include the classic red tomato-based sauces, thick sauces, meat-based sauces, cream-based sauces, and carbonara sauces. Some more adventurous pasta-lovers even go so far as to add unconventional ingredients such as oyster sauce to the mix, which creates a fun fusion flavor bridge between Asian and Italian cuisines. 

But for Nigel Slater, a cook that also happens to be a writer, the ingredient he uses to make a pasta dish stand out from the crowd is a somewhat spicy condiment that dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt.

Adding mustard to your pasta

If you haven't guessed by now, the ingredient that Nigel Slater uses in the Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard recipe he shared with Food & Wine is mustard. However, not any type of mustard will cut it — and there are many types of mustard out there to choose from. Before you reach for a bottle of French's yellow mustard, the recipe specifies that a "grainy" kind of mustard, or whole-grain mustard, should be used. 

Whole-grain mustard comes from the Meaux region of France and contains whole grains along with salt, vinegar, and other spices, as reported by France Voyage. Since mustard is an acidic condiment, with a pH of about 3.6 (via Tastylicious), the addition of mustard adds a sharp flavor and nicely counteracts the heavy flavor of cream. 

Slater states that his Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard recipe is perfect for a "cool fall or winter evening."