When I was in college and was learning how to cook, one of the first dishes I made was spaghetti using a jar of Prego sauce. When I’m in a pinch and I just want to make a quick and simple dinner, I still break out a can of Prego (my favorite type is roasted garlic and herb Italian), doctor it up with meat, mushrooms, and my favorite herbs for an easy dinner.
There are a lot of brands of spaghetti sauce out there, but my favorite jars can be found at Home Goods. It’s surprising the amount of pasta products that we love from Home Goods. They have an imported pasta selection – pastas from Italy, and they are the BEST. They also have jars of pasta sauce and pesto from Italy, and they are so, so, so good … even without any additions.
If you’re not able to get your hands on a jar of imported Italian spaghetti sauce, what can you do to make your jar spaghetti sauce from the store taste better? Here’s how I make my spaghetti taste better:
1.) Saute your meat with garlic powder, onion powder, any other dried spices that you absolutely love. If you’re using a fatty cut of ground beef, don’t add oil before you cook it in your pan. The meat will render fat as you cook. I don’t ever drain the fat because I find that the extra fat adds flavor.
2.) When your meat is browned, sauté vegetables. For my doctored spaghetti sauce, I will add diced onion, garlic slices, and a handful of mushrooms. I’ve also added extra veggies, like finely diced carrots and celery too. Green bell peppers are another great addition. Let the vegetables brown. Add a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks.
3.) After your vegetables are brown, you can either deglaze the pan with some red wine or beef stock. Let it cook down, so all the rich flavor is infused into your meat and vegetables before you add the spaghetti sauce.
4.) Add the jar of spaghetti sauce and allow the sauce to cook down, letting the water evaporate, so you get a thicker sauce. I usually let my sauce simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes, depending on how watery it is. Some brands are more watery than others.
If the sauce is still pretty acidic and too sour for your liking, add a teaspoon of sugar to help balance it out.
5.) Add fresh Italian herbs or dried spices. I use lots of fresh basil and oregano when I have it available. But if I don’t have any on hand, I use dried Italian seasoning and herbs de Provence. I am not stingy, so I will add a tablespoon or more.
If your sauce is still missing complexity, add more spices. To make it spicy, you can add Sriracha sauce or dried red pepper flakes. Smoked paprika also adds a different flavor.
Add more salt and pepper if the sauce is still not salty enough.
6.) Serve with your favorite pasta noodles. Top with lots of Parmesan cheese or shavings. I love to eat my spaghetti sauce with fresh Italian parsley.
Bon appetit and happy eating!