Spaghetti… Again

Spaghetti makes a regular appearance on weeknight dinner menus because it’s fast, easy, and almost universally loved. But sometimes, it’s fun to dress up this standard with something special that adds interest. Here are four ways to add a bit of spark to your favorite spaghetti recipe that keep things easy and interesting:

Add Protein

Adding meatballs instantly elevates basic spaghetti. The best frozen meatballs for spaghetti are honestly the ones you have on hand. Simmer frozen meatballs, no need to thaw, in your favorite jarred sauce tonight. Your spaghetti will instantly be more flavorful, more filling, and more memorable. Treat your family to spaghetti and meatballs tonight.

If you don’t have any meatballs in the freezer, try a mild or spicy Italian sausage. Brown the seasoned meat and then simmer in your sauce. Your family will think you cooked all day, but you’ll know it only took about ten extra minutes.

Add Veggies

Peppers, onions, garlic, and other veggies add richness and flavor to any basic marinara. Sauté them in olive oil until they are a bit browned. When they reach the consistency you like, stir in your pasta sauce and cook together. The result is a sauce that looks and tastes amazing.

Add Dairy

Stirring in a half cup of cream to your spaghetti sauce is another super simple way to change up your sauce to make it something special and different. If you add cream, a flavorful Italian sausage, and freshly shaved parmesan cheese, you can serve this sauce over penne for an easy weeknight pasta dish that tastes and feels totally different than spaghetti. It’s like adding an additional dinner to your repertoire of standby favorites.

If you don’t have cream on hand, half and half works, as do some cheeses. Experiment and see what your family likes. Even adding melted butter to the pan before stirring in your sauce changes the texture and adds a silkiness that changes how the sauce coats the pasta.

Add Spices

Spice up your usual spaghetti sauce with… spices. Oregano, rosemary, and basil are good choices. A bit of sugar can enhance the flavors, and a pinch of red pepper flakes will add some heat. Taste your sauce and go from there.

Best of Both Worlds

Try these recipes when you want the convenience of a jarred sauce and the taste of a more homemade pasta dish. If you don’t want to add anything, another simple trick to change things up is to simmer your sauce for at least 30 minutes. The sauce will cook down, and all the tastes and flavors will deepen. So, serve spaghetti this week, but shake things up with one of these simple suggestions.

Rebecca R. Ammons

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