While for many it’s Taco Tuesday, for my family tonight it’s spaghetti!
If you’re trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, try a “jujed” version of bottled spaghetti sauce and turn it into a comfort food at home.
If you are an experienced or seasoned cook, stop reading here. This is a basic life hack recipe that just about anyone can successfully prepare in less than an hour. This is a simple yet delicious dish to share with family or friends.
The “recipe” is as simple and flexible as can be. Instructions are provided so you can do it yourself. In addition to the prepared and bottled sauce, you can subtract or add ingredients to make it your family’s favorite.
We prefer it with all the ingredients mentioned, but if you don’t like onions, carrots, or Italian sausage, you can do without them. However, in our home, we have found that adding a tablespoon of sugar enhances the flavor of the sauce more than any of us realize.
How to Improve/Change Cooked Spaghetti Sauce
For 6 people (or 4 if your family loves spaghetti)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 package 19-ounce soft Italian sausage or 1 pound hamburger meat (or a combination)
1 bottle of spaghetti sauce (28 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
For pasta and serving
1 16-ounce package of spaghetti (you can also use other noodles if you like – we like penne pasta, especially with Italian sausage)
freshly grated or grated parmesan cheese
- Sauté the diced onions and carrots in olive oil until the onions are translucent in a large deep skillet.
- Add Italian sausage and/or hamburger meat. (For unknown reasons, my family usually buys Italian sausages in the form of links and squeezes them into the pan in small lumps that act almost like meatballs, but Italian sausages are also readily available without casings.)
- Mash the sausage or hamburger meat with a wooden spoon. If using sausage, cook until slightly caramelized.
- * This is when I put a large pot of salted water on another burner.
- Add spaghetti sauce and sugar, stir to combine. Once the sauce boils, lower the heat and cover with a lid. Stir from time to time.
- About 10 minutes before serving, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook as directed. Set the timer according to package instructions to prevent overcooking the pasta.
- About five minutes before serving, chop fresh basil and add to the sauce, stirring, reserving one or two leaves to cover the finished pasta.
- When the pasta is cooked according to package instructions (do not overcook – it should be al dente), drain the noodles.
- Mix with olive oil and add a tablespoon of butter.
- Place the noodles on a large tray.
- Top with an appropriate amount of sauce and sprinkle with parmesan.
- Add a small basil leaf to make your steaming plate even more inviting.
*Note: Our high school graduate daughter, who has never been a big fan of vegetables, loves to cook this dish. However, she buys a yellow zucchini or courgette, cuts it into slices and seasons it, and then roasts it on a baking sheet in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. She adds it to the sauce about 5-10 minutes before serving. This is a great way to get more nutrients.
Simplest: If you have ripe avocados, chop two avocados and arrange on a nice long platter. Drizzle avocado with good olive oil on a platter (about a tablespoon in total). Squeeze a fresh lemon onto a plate of avocado. Add salt and coarsely ground pepper. (This simple dish is the perfect accompaniment to spaghetti.)
Light: Buy a head of oil lettuce. Rub a garlic clove on the inside of a wooden salad bowl. Wash and dry the salad. Add to salad bowl. Grate the carrots into the salad bowl. Finely chop the purple onion (about a quarter of an onion). Lightly toss with Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette (or other vinaigrette of your choice). For the salad pictured here, I added fresh spinach, purple onions and strawberries (all bought from the Red Stick Farmers Market Tuesday afternoon) in a champagne vinaigrette – and it was delicious.