An Adventure in Doctoring Store Bought Pasta Sauce

A few days ago, Thogg was sweet enough to cook me dinner. He went to the store, bought a jar of pasta sauce and warmed it up and served it over pasta. One thing I have to say about jarred sauce, some of it is good, some of it is passable, and some of it is atrocious. The cost rarely matters, some of the most expensive sauces are the worst offenders. This sauce was amongst the more expensive and was one of the worst; it was called “sweet basil” and holy cow, was it sweet. We each choked down a small portion of our dinner and called it good. The remaining 2/3 of the jar remained sitting in my fridge almost begging me to throw it in the trash.

Since I hate wasting food, I decided to see if I could “fix it”.

Into my frying pan went about 1/3lb of a mixture of home ground pork sirloin and bacon. (Perhaps 1.5 or 2 slices of bacon and the rest lean sirloin). I broke it up and browned it in a non stick soup pot with no added oil. I then added 1/2 a glass of dry white wine (for some acidity and flavor) and a 14oz can of chopped tomatoes followed by some ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, 1 heaped tsp of dried oregano, and 2 or 3 tsp of drained and minced capers to add more acidity. After cooking everything down, I added the 2/3rds of a jar of the sweet basil sauce monstrosity followed by 3 cloves of garlic minced. I cooked everything on medium low heat for another 15 minutes until the sauce thickened considerably and then added some salt to taste.

In the mean time, I boiled 1/3 of a bag of whole wheat penne in heavily salted water. When the noodles were aldente I added them to the sauce along with about 1/2 a cup of the pasta water. I put the pasta into oven safe bowls and topped it with some skim mozzarella and broiled it in the oven.

The result was a passable pasta topped with ooey gooey goodness and another healthy dose of chili flakes. It was not the best I’ve made, but it was surprisingly good considering how terrible the jarred sauce was. I consider this a win.

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