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Aug 9, 2006 11:00 PM

Good way to doctor up jar spaghetti sauce?

I don't have the time to make mine from scratch. I like to use the jar sauce as a base, but then either add some browned beef or sauteed mushrooms to make it more tolerable. And of course garlic and spices.

But I'm always looking for new ideas - got any?

Bonus points if you tell me your favorite jar sauce.


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  1. anchovy paste, capers, good olive oil, definitely garlic, olives, and/or pesto are always favorites of mine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: chaddict

      Or, instead of anchovy paste, just anchovy fillets. They will dissolve right into the sauce. With anchovy paste, a lot of what you are paying for is just salt.

      1. re: Lady_Tenar

        I would really wonder if there's any more salt - but I would go along with the paste being more expensive because of packing I should think - on the other hand, the paste tube does allow you to use bits - whereas the jar or can of fillets needs to be used whole or else re-packed where they almost always drip oil someplace.

        1. re: jounipesonen

          Empty a small can of paste into a sandwich bag allow it to firm up flatten and place back in the freezer like on the freezer door. Then when you need break off a peace.I do the same with fresh basil mix with tomato puree larger plastic bag allow to firm up flatten the tomato and basil "slush" and freeze.Transfer several bottles or tins of anchovies to sandwich bags, also wait for firming first before flattening.

    2. These days I've been discovering fennel all over again - sauteeing it with onions for a hearty bean-vegetable soup or stews. I am sure it would add much to jarred pasta sauce. I know Batali has a bottled version with it, so it's not a novel idea :-/ I've added sauteed peppers with thyme, sauteed cubes of eggplant or zucchini with garlic, even wilted spinach with garlic, and definitely some chilli flakes with success.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sweetTooth

        fennel's just "tastes like sausage" w/out the meat!

      2. quick recipe
        Italian Sausage fry in saute pan, either cut up in pieces or pull the casing off and mash with fork

        add whatever veggies you like- onion, peppers, mushrooms, garlic- salt pepper, oregano, italian seasoning, sugar and a dash of red wine

        then add a can of tomatoes, crushed, whole and crush them with your hands or diced, whatever you have available.

        canned tomatoes are better, but if you like it more saucy do add a little jarred sauce.

        another super quick recipe is a tomato cream sauce.
        put jarred sauce in a saute pan heat, turn on low heat and add some half and half then add your cooked pasta.
        I always buy plain sauce too, always add your own meat and veggies.

        1. I love TJ's vegetarian pasta sauces. Not too sweet.

          To doctor jarred sauce, the simplest solution is fresh herbs. Other possibilities: chopped spinach; roasted eggplant chunks; fava beans; caramelized onions.

          For a completely different flavour, I like to add cumin, cinnamon and orange zest.

          1. The original comment has been removed