As you may or may not recall, as a result of a great sale a few months ago at Brookshire’s, one of my local grocery options, I stocked up my pantry with 10 cans 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 sometimes 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.
For these last three meals with my Hunt’s Pasta Sauce, I’ve used them as they’re originally intended — to make a quick and easy meal at home. Nothing brilliant here, but I did want to follow through on reporting what I did with the tinned sauce.
Essentially, I made three pasta dishes with varied sauces. For each dish, I seasoned a 26 ounce tin of the Hunt’s Pasta Sauce to taste with some sautéed minced onion and shredded carrot, splash of Worcestershire sauce (vegetarians — leave out or use a vegan sub!), healthy splash of red wine, and herbs to taste: bay leaf(ves), basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder (or use minced garlic), red pepper flakes, parsley and rosemary (optional)).
Vegetarians: Substitute vegetarian meat crumbles and/or add in veggies — chunks of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, 10 ounce package of frozen spinach (well thawed and drained), whatever you’d like — in place of the meat.
For Meal 8, I made Spaghetti with Italian Sausage: I cooked up some spicy Italian Turkey Sausage by placing it in a non-stick skillet with some water and a wee drizzle of oil and cooked, turning occasionally, until the water had evaporated and the sausages had browned. You may leave the sausages whole or slice them. I seasoned the sauce as described above (cooking the veg in the skillet where I’d cooked the sausages), and I also added in some sliced mushrooms, as well. I simmered the sauce and sausages for a bit, and we sat down to a yummy and relatively quick supper.
For Meal 9, I made a Spaghetti Bolognese: I browned 1/2 pound of extra lean (93/7) ground beef in a non-stick skillet. I seasoned the sauce as described above (cooking the veg in the skillet with the browned meat). I also added in some diced green bell pepper — sliced mushrooms or another favorite veg would work, too, if desired. Once again, I simmered the meat and sauce for a bit, and we had another quick and easy meal.
For Meal 10, I used the sauce for a package of cheese ravioli — I’ve found that a tin of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce is just the right amount for a 5-serving package of store-bought ravioli. While I often just use the seasoned sauce over the ravioli, this time I made Cheese Ravioli with Bolognese Sauce : I browned 1/2 pound of extra lean (93/7) ground beef in a non-stick skillet. I seasoned the sauce as described above (cooking the veg in the skillet with the browned meat). I also added in some sliced mushrooms. I tossed the sauce with the cooked ravioli.
What have I decided after my 10-can experiment with Hunt’s Pasta Sauce?
Well, while I’ve generally kept a tin or two of Hunt’s Pasta Sauce on hand for a quick ravioli meal, I’ve decided that the sauce is more versatile than I’d given it credit for — and it’s certainly more affordable than the equivalent volume of good-quality tomato sauce. So, while I’ll also still have times when I make my sauces from tinned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste that I completely season myself, I do believe I will be incorporating Hunt’s Pasta Sauce into my recipes more frequently, because it is convenient, tasty, and affordable.