There are days when I lose all my principles—and buy ready-prepared food. No, that’s not spaghetti pictured above—it’s the prepared salmon cake I bought. Looked better than it was, and once again I scolded myself because I can make a darn good salmon cake, and I have a can of salmon. Even the buttermilk/lemon sauce I made was a bust.
I had better luck recently with a jar of spaghetti sauce. I found a recipe for “fixing” prepared spaghetti sauce. I doctored the recipe a bit more, and it came out fine—a rich, thick sauce which I appreciate. Great for a quick meal, and gosh knows this time of year we all need an occasional quick meal.
Pasta out of the box—or jar:
A 12 oz. jar spaghetti sauce—I don’t think the label or brand matters much, and you can choose one of the special flavors if you want—I stuck with marinara, and I will say I’m suspicious of meat in prepared sauces so I think you’re better off with vegetarian of some kind
4 garlic cloves
¼ cup good olive oil
½ tsp. anchovy paste or a couple of anchovy filets, drained – no, it won’t taste fishy
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan
4 Tbsp. butter
Black pepper to taste
Pinch of brown sugar
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Slice garlic and sauté in olive oil until golden. Add the anchovies and stir around in the pan until they become mush. Add red pepper and stir it all around some more.
Stir in pasta sauce, 1-1/4 cups pasta cooking liquid, and 1 cup Parmesan. Cook, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. You could probably substitute a bit of red wine for some of the pasta liquid—maybe ¼ cup?
Use tongs to take pasta out of its cooking water and add to the pot (you may want to stir in more of the water to get the consistency you want). Cook and stir until pasta is coated and l dente—don’t overcook. Add that pinch of brown sugar and stir it in. Remove from heat.
Stir in parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Looks like a lot of work for a “quick” meal but it really isn’t and, unike old-fashioned, homemade sauce, you don’t have to cook it all day.