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READ PRINT EDITION

Sauce shortcut! The homemade stuff can’t be beat

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Sauce shortcut! The homemade stuff can’t be beat
(Photo: Photo: Teresa Blackburn)

Of all the shortcuts in cooking, one of the best is using pasta sauce in a jar. Grocery shelves are lined with an assortment of brands and variations, some smoother, chunkier, or more seasoned than others but all incredibly easy to use. Despite the convenience of store-bought sauce, there is always the temptation to do a little tinkering. Here, a splash of dry red wine adds a depth to the sauce that only wine can provide. Use the recipe as a blueprint. Depending on the thickness of the sauce, more liquid may be needed. For this, pasta cooking water is perfect.

Rotini with Eggplant and Zucchini

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 2 cups cubed, peeled eggplant
  • 2 cups cubed zucchini
  • 1⁄3 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups pasta tomato sauce from a jar
  • ½ cup water
  • 8 ounces (3 cups) uncooked rotini
  • 4 tablespoons (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, eggplant and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer, stirring with a large spoon, until wine evaporates. Add sauce and water and stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. If too thick, add some pasta cooking water. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to serving plates. Top with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 4.

— Recipe by Jean Kressy