How to Make Store-Bought Tomato Sauce Even Better
I started a group on Facebook called, What I Cooked For Dinner Last Night. People post photos of meals they made the night before. It's a great way to see what other people are preparing for dinner and perfect for new ideas.
This week I asked the group to share some of their ideas for doctoring up store-bought tomato sauce to add to my last post, How to Doctor Store-Bought Tomato Sauce. I already have over 20 ideas for you to try and will add more as they come in. I encourage you to share your ideas below or on the other page.
Pasta and Sauce Club
My wife signed us up with a pasta and pasta sauce club for my birthday back in June. Each month we get two different types of pasta and two jars of tomato sauce. Plus, they send you some recipe ideas for each. It's a fun way to try new sauces and is perfect for those nights you're not sure what to cook.
For this recipe, I used the American Blue pasta sauce with organic tomato & basil combined with the Flying Noodle garlic parsley fettuccine. To contribute to the group, I doctored up the American Blue tomato sauce, and it turned out great. Better than expected.
I only added ingredients that I had on hand. I was home alone for the weekend and didn't feel like running out to the market to make this sauce. The good news, we have plenty of ingredients in our refrigerators and pantry.
Smoked Bacon - my wife picked up some smoked bacon from our local farmer's perfect market. I would have preferred pancetta, an Italian form of bacon that is not smoked, but in the end, the smokiness added to the flavor of the dish.
Yellow Pepper - I wanted to add pepper to the sauce and had my choice of red, yellow, or green. I went with yellow to add some color to the sauce.
Yellow Onion - I could have used a red onion if I had one, but the yellow onion worked fine. I sliced it into rings to add more texture to the sauce.
Capers - my oldest daughter and I love capers and the briny saltiness they bring to any dish. However, my wife and youngest daughters are not fond of them, so I added them because I was home alone with the dog.
Parmigiano-Reggiano - a perfect way to finish this dish off. Grate some fresh Parmigiano on top but wait, there's more.
Toasted Pine Nuts - on the counter, there were some leftover toasted pine nuts in a bowl from a previous dinner. They were sitting there, so I grabbed a handful and tossed it on top. You don't see them in the photo because I added them after taking the pic.
Fettuccini with Doctored Store Bought Tomato Sauce
Cook the Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook the fettuccini according to the package to al dente.
- Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining.
- Drain pasta and reserve.
Make the Sauce
- While the pasta is coming to a boil, prep all the ingredients.
- In a medium fry pan or large saucepan, add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
- Add the sliced yellow pepper and cook for 4 minutes.
- Add the sliced onion and continue cooking until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the jarred sauce, and stir to combine with other ingredients.
- Add the capers and stir to combine.
- When the pasta is done cooking, remove ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. If the sauce looks too thick, add a little of the pasta water until reaching the desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Spoon a little sauce into the bottom of each bowl. Add some fettuccine and top with a little more sauce. Please don't over-sauce the pasta.
- Top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and some toasted pine nuts.