Listen, sometimes mama does not have the time to make pasta sauce from scratch. Or sometimes, she is just not in the mood. An authentic homemade pasta sauce takes time, love and great ingredients. But make no mistake about it, with a few ingredients you can improve store bought pasta sauce. Here are 5 ingredients that elevate store bought pasta sauce you either already have in your pantry or can quickly grab at your local grocery store.
5 Ingredients That Elevate Store Bought Pasta Sauce
One of the easiest ways to elevate store bought pasta sauce is to add meat. Some might say any type of ground meat will do but I recommend getting ground sirloin as far as quality. Using a mixture of meats also works very well. For this sauce, I used ground sirloin but I have done a mixture of sirloin with ground Italian sausage or ground pork. You will season this meat. If you are a vegetarian, skip this ingredient. Everything else on the list will work great for you.
Onions, peppers and olives. Yes olives are technically a fruit but they lean on the vegetable side for most recipes so go with it. This sauce has onions, yellow and green bell peppers and pimento stuffed olives. I saute the onions and peppers in olive oil but butter works well here too.
Listen, if you are not using bay leaves on a daily basis while cooking, do yourself a favor and start. I continue to chuckle about the “leaf in my food at Chipotle” debacle that happened a few years back. The fact that people had no idea what a bay leaf was cracks me up every single time. You want to use 1-2 bay leaves in any sauce or stew based recipe. Just remember to remove them before serving. You will add some more herbs to this recipe. My go to herbs are thyme, oregano and bay leaves.
Worcestershire sauce is yet another must have in your culinary arsenal. A little goes a long way but as far as I’m concerned, it is a must. I would add Tabasco sauce to as I like to put a splash of each of these in most recipes especially soups but if you only have one, go with Worcestershire.
Now while I want to tell you to make your stock at home (you really should) for this recipe, just go ahead and add some of the store bought stuff. You do have some on hand, right? While beef is my go to meat to elevate store bought pasta sauce, any stock will do. Only have chicken stock? Go with it. Vegetable stock? That works too. In fact I am a fan of the Better Than Bouillon base products. You really should have some of this on hand.
Now that you have this list of 5 ingredients that elevate store bought pasta sauce, here is the sauce recipe. Go forth and make good sauce. Thank me later.
And if you’re looking for a way to get more veggies into your littles, check out this meat and hidden vegetables sauce that was a hit with my kids when they went through the picky eater and texture phase.
What’s your trick to doctoring up store bought sauces?
Evelyn CarterFebruary 21, 2019 at 4:47 AM
MJ, I totally agree with the meat and stock. When I try to make pasta sauce that’s vegan and you’ve tasted sauces with meat and stock, you can really feel something’s missing. I’m definitely curious about the bay leaves. My mom uses them for stews but I’ve never added them to my home red sauce. Gonna try this weekend.
M JMarch 9, 2019 at 10:49 AM
Give the bay leaves a try. They are a game changer even in rice.