You can transform a jarred spaghetti sauce into a delicious sauce that tastes like it has been simmering for hours. Here are a 8 ways to get that homemade taste from any jar or canned spaghetti sauce. Italian dinners are always a family favorite and any shortcuts to a quick weeknight meal is always appreciated!
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How to make jarred spagetti sauce taste better
Remember the homemade spaghetti sauce our grandmothers spent hours making? They would simmer marinara sauce on the stove all day! Luckily we have the convenience of buying jarred sauce at the grocery store and with a few minor additions we can achieve the flavor of that scratch sauce we remember!
choose the right sauce
Not all jarred sauces are created equal. Look for a simple sauce that can be enhanced with a few extra ingredients.
The best sauce is made with simple ingredients. Look for a jar of sauce that has tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil on the ingredients label. Usually anything with added sugar is too sweet tasting and masques the freshness of the tomatoes.
Use proper equiment
You will need a large skillet, sauce pan or Dutch oven for cooking the jar of pasta sauce.
add spices and herbs
Need to spice things up? Add fresh herbs from your garden or raid your spice rack. Fresh oregano, basil and fresh parsley are delicious in sauce. If you do not have fresh herbs use a small amount of these in spice form. A teaspoon of dried basil, oregano, thyme or even a mixture of Italian seasoning will add a lot of flavor. Also you can make your sauce a little spicy with a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
You know those veggies that may be past their prime for a salad? These can still be sautéed and added to sauce. Carrots, mushrooms, green peppers onions and fresh garlic are a few of my favorites for pasta sauce. Roasted garlic is also delicious and is quick to make ahead and store in the freezer. Make sure to sauté these in your skillet with a pat of butter or tablespoon of olive oil before adding the jar of store bought sauce. Cook the veggies until they are tender and no longer crunchy. Garlic cooks very fast so add that at the end for just a quick 30 seconds.
make a MEAT SAUCE
Brown ground beef, ground turkey or Italian sausage before adding the jarred pasta sauce. The browning of the meat adds a depth of flavor to any spaghetti sauce. Completely cook the ground meat, drain the excess fat from the bottom of the pan before adding the jar of spaghetti sauce. A meaty sauce can be used for lasagna or to top on cooked pasta.
make it creamy
Heavy cream or milk is one of my favorite additions. This will transform your sauce into a rich creamy tomato cream sauce.
In my house there is no such thing as too much cheese! Grate some from fresh parmesan cheese, sprinkle with mozzarella or stir in creamy ricotta.
Give your sauce enough time to simmer on the stove top. Go to a low heat and give it at least 15 minutes after browning meat or sautéing veggies.
Storing leftover spaghetti sauce
Let the sauce cool completely to room temperature before storing. You can store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2-3 days if it has meat cheese or dairy added. If only adding veggies and spices it will stay fresh for 4-5 days.
Alternately you can freeze the sauce in freezer bags laid flat in the freezer to save space. Sauce freezes well for 2-3 months. I would not freeze a sauce that has cream added because it may separate.