Sauce of Desperation

by spiceaholic on February 21, 2011

Jarred pasta sauce is something I always have in my pantry, along with a bazillion boxes of pasta, for those need-something-in-a-hurry type dinners.

I know, I know, it’s better to make your own and so easy.  But let me be honest here — it may not take long to make, but it takes longer to clean up than just pouring out however much sauce you need in a bowl and putting the jar back in the fridge.

Or so I thought.

As part of FoodBuzz’s Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon to try Buitoni’s new line of Riserva pastas a few months ago.  The coupon sat affixed to my fridge by a magnet and it was by chance that I looked at it the other day and realized the coupon was about to expire.

The Riserva line is described as “Premium pasta pillows generously filled with enticing, all natural ingredients.”  Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Mr. Spice requested I pick something without dairy in it, so I was happy to see there was a packet of  Spicy Beef & Ravioli to try.  These contained the aforementioned spicy beef and sausage, as well as grated carrots and Grana Padano and Parmesan cheeses.  Oops, guess there was some dairy in there after all.  Don’t tell Mr. Spice!

We were asked to pair our Riserva picks with a sauce of our choosing.  I was going to go for something easy and simple and just doctor up some jarred pasta sauce with fresh spinach and spices.

Imagine my shock when I went to the pantry to get some pasta sauce and discovered I didn’t have any.  None.  Not even an opened jar sitting in the fridge.  Crap, what was I going to do?  I spotted a can of peeled, crushed tomatoes that hadn’t expired yet (I’m forever forgetting about food until it expires) and I knew I had minced garlic and spices.  Well, this was as good a time as any to make my own sauce!

I call this the Sauce of Desperation


1 can peeled, crushed tomatoes

Minced garlic

Olive oil

Salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, Italian seasonings

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat a large pan over medium high heat.  Pour out 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat.  Add 1 tsp. minced garlic and stir until garlic starts to turn light golden brown.  Add the tomatoes.  Add spices to taste and bring everything up to a brief boil, then lower the heat to medium and let it all cook for at least 5 minutes.  Add fresh baby spinach leaves towards end and let them wilt in the residual heat.

The sauce was ready in less than the time it took for the water for the ravioli to come to a boil and for the ravioli to cook.

And it tasted pretty dang good!

I need to work on my plating skills, but here is some of the sauce ready for the ravioli.


Everything all ready to eat.  I added some shaved Parmesan on top.


These ravioli were a great choice.  The filling was very flavorful and went well with the sauce.  You could definitely taste the sausage and beef, and if the package hadn’t said there were carrots I wouldn’t have known.  I like that they only took about 5 minutes to cook, so this would work on those nights where you need something quick.

I have to say, the sauce was was easy to make, the amount was just right, and there really wasn’t that much to clean up.  I’ll still buy jarred sauces for the convenience, but at least now I know I can make my own if I need to.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ameena February 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I have tried and tried to make my own sauce at home but somehow it just doesn’t taste as good as the organic marinara at Ralphs. I think it might have to do with my crappy TJ’s olive oil?? This look amazingly delicous my friend!

Aiman Masud February 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Good for you! As they say Necessity is the mother of invention.

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