Improving store-bought pasta sauce

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Cook 1-lb of Italian sausage, out of casing. Crumble. I use a potato masher. Mix with bottled spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cook 1-lb of sliced mushrooms in olive oil with 2-cloves garlic, crushed. Deglaze with a bit of Marsala. Mix with bottled spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cook 1-lb of sliced onion in olive oil with 2-cloves garlic, crushed. Deglaze with a bit of White wine. Mix with bottled spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
 
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I’ve never found a jarred sauce that I like. Ever. But it’s just as simple and easy to Doctor up a can of tomatoes. The simplest recipe I know is also the best recipe. Simply dump a jar of crushed tomatoes into a sauce pot. Add a whole onion and 5 Tbsp of butter, along with some salt and pepper. Let it simmer gently for 45 minutes and then serve with fresh basil. It just doesn’t get any easier. Recipe courtesy of Marcella Hazan.
 
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I prefer this quick and easy recipe that cooks up as quickly as boiling water and cooking your pasta: Saute some onions and garlic in a little olive oil. (Ok to saute just a few peeled garlic cloves for a quicker sauce.) Dump in your crushed tomatoes (get imported from Italy ones.). Add fresh parsley and/ or basil, salt and pepper, a little wine or lemon juice and a tad of sugar. Simmer 10 minutes, you are done.

If you insist, you can use this method with store bought sauce as well. (But why?)
 
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Hi Jerry,

Good info above for tomato sauces!

A technique you can use for more than store-bought pasta sauce is to read the label.

Arranged from most to least, a label provides a list of ingredients for all store bought products. (Pasta Sauce, Chili, Soups, Pie filling, Frozen foods, etc.)

Sort of a recipe without instructions or amounts!

Adding more of an ingredient that is already in the product is a very safe way to modify the flavor.

This works for any spice blend also.

Test for Jerry!

Here are the ingredients for McCormick's Chili Powder.

CHILI PEPPER, PAPRIKA, CUMIN, WHEAT FLOUR , ONION, SALT, CORN MALTODEXTRIN, SUGAR, GARLIC, AND EXTRACTIVES OF CUMIN.

What flavors can you safely add to your Chili?

A. Garlic, Onion, Cumin, Chili Pepper
B. Nutmeg, Vanilla, Orange peel
C. Miso, Soy sauce, Wasabi
D. Rhino Horn extract, Caraway seed, Curry Powder
Have Fun!
 
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I’ve never found a jarred sauce that I like. Ever. But it’s just as simple and easy to Doctor up a can of tomatoes. The simplest recipe I know is also the best recipe. Simply dump a jar of crushed tomatoes into a sauce pot. Add a whole onion

Should I at least cut the onion in half to speed up the cooking time?

mjb.
 
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Should I at least cut the onion in half to speed up the cooking time?

mjb.
Channeling Marcella: cut in half or even dice the onion, but don't simmer for less than 45 minutes. This is a cooked sauce and cooked sauce can't be rushed.

:)
 

pete

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Staff member
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A very simple way to "doctor" up canned or jarred sauce is to sauté some diced onion and minced garlic, add about 1 cup of red wine, allow to reduce by half then add your sauce.
 
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My go-to quick sauce is to slowly fry onions in olive oil, add a can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for a little bit.
 
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Thats basically what i do, sautee some onions, add diced or crushed tomatoes,
simmer down then add the jar. If I dont have enuf of everything else.
Tomato paste/wine slurry if i have it. The point being, depends what i have on hand.
When standing in the store, I dont buy ready made if i can help it.
Cooked at my sons the other day, all he had was tomato paste, can crushed tomatoes.
not enuf. Pulled a jar of ragu out of his pantry so i used it.
Onions, wine, ground beef, it was fine.
In the banquet room, my boss made her famous marinara sauce with Ragu, then adding
other stuff to it. She bought the jars for that purpose, even had a runner pick up a few
while she was out. I just never saw the point.
 
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i guess i failed to clarify that. I only use a jar if i dont have enuf of other stuff,
as in the case of cooking at my sons. I used the jar he had on hand to increse volume
to make a big enuf batch thats all.
I dont buy ready made Ragu and the like, i use canned tomatoes, crushed and 1 can paste
for my base.

OPs original question was how to spruce up a jar of ready made.
The irony is that I had to use a jar of ready made to spruce DOWN a decent sauce. lol
 
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Cook your onions and then add a little tomato paste and cook until browned stirring often. Then add crushed tomatoes and spices. This can reduce your cooking time and still give the long simmered flavor.
 
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Why add a jar (of, I assume, ready-made tomato sauce?)? You've basically made tomato sauce and then are adding a jar of tomato sauce to it?
Rather than add a jar of prepared pasta sauce, I spike the quick home-made sauce with a bit of Italian seasoning to "recreate" bottled sauce.

But I can relate to meezenplaz's situation... no matter how many 28oz cans of crushed tomato I buy and store, there is always one less than I need.
 
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