Q. Are there any other uses for jarred spaghetti sauce other than topping pasta?
A. A jar of spaghetti sauce can be as comforting as an old friend. It's sure to please -- just twist off the lid, heat it up, and serve it over spaghetti, between layers of lasagna, or tossed with penne. However, why stop at pasta? This pantry staple can be the flavor base for a variety of dishes.
Spaghetti sauce is essentially tomato sauce with onions and herbs, and when you think of it in those terms you're less likely to limit its uses. And with all the varieties on the grocery store shelves, a whole new world of flavors is available to give new twists to your favorite non-pasta dishes.
Following are some ideas for using spaghetti sauce in:
- Soups: For a tomato-based soup, cook and stir your favorite vegetables and simmer in spaghetti sauce. Thin with a little broth, if necessary.
- Stews and Casseroles: Use the sauce as a substitute for tomatoes in any stew, or use as you would canned cream soup in a casserole.
- Meats: Whether you're cooking a beef or pork roast in the oven or simmering it in a slow cooker, the flavors of spaghetti sauce will penetrate the meat and create a heady, deeply-flavored gravy that's perfect over mashed potatoes.
- Pizza Sauce: Substitute spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce. Before adding the cheese to the pizza, sprinkle with fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Garnish the pizza with fresh basil.
- Ethnic Dishes: For quick tacos, brown ground beef with a bit of cumin and cilantro. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer. Serve in tortillas or taco shells with all the trimmings. For Middle Eastern rice dishes, season spaghetti sauce with a bit of cinnamon and allspice (and a small amount of sugar to taste, if desired). Serve sauce over rice.