10 Recipes for Your Jar of Pasta Sauce | How to Use Italian Pasta Sauce
It doesn’t need to take hours to create a masterpiece! Just a few fundamental ingredients found in your kitchen cupboards or pantry can inspire some quick, but rewarding weeknight recipes. And what’s better, many dishes don’t require much more than items you already stock up on, so there is the need for an extra trip to the grocery store.
Pasta sauce is a flavorful and versatile ingredient—ready to bring that ripe, sunny tomato flavor to your meals with the ease of popping open a jar from your pantry. We know nothing beats the homemade goodness of your family’s pasta sauce recipe, but our line of Pomodoro Fresco Sauces are as close as you can get to fresh-made in a jar. Carefully crafted with our signature Italian plum tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables and herbs, our sauces come in five great flavors to jazz up your weeknight meals… even if they aren’t from scratch.
10 Ways to Use Your Favorite Jar of Sauce
- Lasagna without the work. Use a jar of your favorite red sauce to create a skillet brimming with everything you love about Nonna’s signature dish in less than 30 minutes. Weeknight Skillet Lasagna combines tasty Italian cheeses, robust garlic, fresh basil and, of course, our flat lasagna noodles (No-Boil to save even more time!) We feature sweet Italian sausage, but the sky is the limit with this dish. Be creative! If you're looking for something fun that the whole family can get into, try our latest recipe—crisp, mini pizzas made with lasagna noodles!
- Fried, cheesy Ravioli. This recipe is as easy as taking your favorite ravioli (frozen or fresh) and rolling them in flaky Panko breadcrumbs, then frying for a crisp golden bite with a soft and cheesy middle. Serve up Breaded Cheesy Ravioli with a warm cup of Marinara and watch them disappear. Kid-friendly, these fun finger ravioli are also great for entertaining.
- Savory breakfast creations. Take what you know about French toast and give it a bold, Italian twist. Create an egg and Parmesan batter to fry up thick slices of Italian bread—top with Marinara and a fried egg for one tasty toast that is sure to become a favorite.
- Chicken Cacciatore to the rescue. Simply brown chicken with fresh bell peppers, onion and mushrooms in an ovenproof skillet, and then bake to a smooth simmer with a lush pasta sauce. Chicken Cacciatore with Tomato Basil Sauce is a delicious way to enjoy chicken, often served with a side of pasta, salad or really anything that will accent its tangy tomato goodness!
- Meatballs for more than just spaghetti. Everyone knows there’s nothing like a great meatball! Simmered in a tasty Marinara or Roasted Garlic sauce, our Sunday Sauce Meatballs recipe is a classic Italian preparation perfect for spaghetti, but try something new! Feature them in crusty rolls with a sprinkling of Parmesan or slice them up in a panini, then top with gooey mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Meatballs make a great stand-alone entrée too, which is typically how they are enjoyed in Italy. Serve them with a leafy green salad for a complete meal.
- Manicotti stuffed with your favorite fillings. Everyone loves manicotti—tender tube-shaped pasta most often stuffed with creamy cheeses and topped with red sauce. We upped the ante with our Ricotta Spinach Manicotti, using leftover lasagna noodles (parboiled) than rolled around savory cheese and fresh spinach. But use your imagination! Stuff them with sausage, roasted vegetables, anything you know your family will love!
- Polenta in many shapes. This cornmeal porridge began in Northern Italy as a traditional peasant food, but has since transcended its humble roots. Cooked, cooled and then cut, polenta becomes a savory canvas for your favorite flavors. We suggest Polenta with Arrabbiata for a simple, but satisfying meal. For something a little lighter and great as an appetizer or starter, try Polenta Fritta—sautéed strips of polenta served with Marinara. Kids love it! Our Instant Polenta makes these recipes even easier to prepare!
- Cheesy baked pasta for the win! Creating a tasty baked pasta dish is as easy raiding your pantry or fridge, even scooping in some of last night’s leftovers! We start simple with a classic Italian dish of Cheesy Baked Ziti loaded up on creamy ricotta, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Choose your favorite short cut of pasta, like bowties or elbows, and introduce your favorite ingredients—from olives and roasted peppers to crumbled sausage and pancetta. Just remember to be generous with the sauce, so to not have a dry casserole!
- Create a tangy tomato vinaigrette. A superior jarred pasta sauce is crafted for a savory balance of lush, summery tomato and the bright addition of fresh herbs. It only makes sense that such a dynamic pair would enhance your favorite cold dishes. Whether you’re dressing a picnic pasta salad or drizzling it over a colorful toss of fresh veggies, our Tangy Tomato Basil Vinaigrette adds a new dimension to your creations. But don’t stop there, try this vinaigrette as a flavorful marinade for grilled meats.
- Make your meatloaf count. With so many versions and adaptations, meatloaf is much like an experiment in the comfort food world. It's a classic American dish with a great opportunity to introduce new ingredients, but some people just stick to their family recipes. We say, you’re missing out! Give your tradition a new edge with a jar of pasta sauce! We use creamy ricotta, nutty Parmesan and fragrant rosemary for our Italian Loaf. Once baked, top it with our rich Marinara for a fresh, bold finish. Save the ketchup for your French fries!
Depending on your recipe, you just might be left with a small amount of pasta sauce. While it seems that any amount less than a jar is useless, we’ve got some ideas for your leftover sauce—from a half jar to a few spoonfuls. Just don’t throw it away!
First, check the label for storing instructions and an expiration date. Many sauces can be stored for a week or longer in your refrigerator, plenty of time to introduce its robust tomato-y presence into your meals. Below, we give you some helpful hints for using your jarred pasta sauce leftovers:
- Personal pizzas on bagels, English muffins and flatbreads.
- Chili, creamy tomato and minestrone soups.
- Italian Sausage with Peppers & Sauce.
- Eggs in purgatory or top scrambled eggs.
- Spanish-style rice and beans.
- Italian-style grilled cheese.
- Dip for garlicky breadsticks.