Brookshire’s, one of my local grocery options, had a fantastic sale last week — Campbell’s condensed soups were 10 for $10 (in other words, a $1 a can!!), as was Hunt’s Pasta Sauce — 10 (26 ounce) cans for $10!
You can bet your bottom dollar that I took advantage of that sale and, over the course of the week, picked up 20 tins of soup and 10 tins of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce.
I usually make my own pasta sauce, but I do always like to keep a tin or two of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce in my pantry for a quick, easy meal. For example, I’ve found that it’s just the right amount of sauce for a frozen (or refrigerated) bag of ravioli. It’s also just the right amount of sauce for when I make stuffed shells — I figure I’m already futzing with stuffing the pasta shells, so unless I’m feeling especially like puttering in the kitchen, I usually make it easy on myself and doctor up a can of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce. When we’re making up a big batch of pizzas (such as for a family birthday party), mixing a tin of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce with tomato paste is an easy way to make a yummy pizza sauce for a crowd.
Generally, I choose Hunt’s Pasta Sauce over other brands because even when it’s not on sale, it’s usually more affordable than other brands; I like the flavor of it (‘though I add additional seasonings to it, of course); and in comparison to other sauces, it seems to have the least amount of added sugar.
Hunt’s Pasta Sauce comes in a variety of flavors, but I usually get either the Garlic & Herb or the No-Sugar-Added sauce, although I’ve found that the No-Sugar-Added sauce is thinner and more watery than the others.
Given that, at a $1 a can, the Pasta Sauce is more affordable than an equal amount of tomato sauce, I’m treating the Hunt’s Pasta Sauce as I would a seasoned tomato sauce and trying it in a few different ways.
We’ve had a crazy work week this week (and had to work this past weekend), so I used my first tin this week to make an Easy Bolognese Sauce — which is a fancy way of saying meat sauce 😉
I tried making Bolognese with a tin of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce many years ago and just did not care for it, even though I’d done as I usually do with the commercial sauce and added in a bit more of my own seasonings.
So this time, I treated it more as I would a tin of seasoned tomato sauce (as opposed to treating it as a finished sauce I was adding meat to), and I gotta say, it turned out really yummy! In fact, judging by the number of helpings my beloved ate, one might argue that it was the best I’ve ever made. Regardless, it sure hit the spot — and I think it would cook up well in the CrockPot, too!
Easy Bolognese Sauce (Serves 6 to 8 )
- 1 pound extra-lean (93/7 or greater) ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 to 1 onion, finely chopped/diced
- 1 to 2 carrots, scraped and finely chopped/diced
- 1 to 2 stalks celery, finely chopped/diced
- Optional: Sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned/jarred) and/or chopped bell pepper
- 1 can (26 ounces) Hunt’s Pasta Sauce
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste (I used Italian seasoned tomato paste)
- Splash of red wine (optional)
- Minced garlic and/or garlic powder to taste
- Additional seasonings to taste: Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, parsley, and/or rosemary
- In a lightly seasoned pan, brown ground meat. Drain fat, if any.
- Add in finely chopped/diced onion, carrot, and celery (I whiz mine up in my little mini food processor; blender would work, too) and sauté until they begin to soften a bit. Add in minced garlic, if using.
- Add in a splash of wine, if desired. Stir in pasta sauce and tomato paste. Add in mushrooms and/or bell pepper, if using. Add seasonings to taste — remember, the sauce is already seasoned, you’re just looking to boost the flavors to the level that you like. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer, if you want).
- Serve over your favorite pasta — we used Spaghetti Rigati, which was fun. 🙂
- Refrigerate or freeze leftover sauce.
Want to CrockPot it? Brown meat and sauté veggies as described above. Because CrockPots create additional liquid, use a 12 ounce can of tomato paste (or two 6-ounce cans). Combine ingredients in CrockPot (use a liner for easy clean up!) and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours.