I'm not the kind of person who makes spaghetti sauce from scratch, although some people tell me it's "easy".

I am the kind of person who takes cheap storebought sauce, and personalizes it...

Chick-Cheesinara Spaghetti Sauce

Here's the first of my experiments, which was such a success that I decided to name it.
(I also decided to name it because of the cool name I came up with.)

can or jar of spaghetti sauce
half a can of chick peas
"some" cheddar cheese*

Warm the sauce in a saucepan (how appropiate!) While it's warming you can mash most of the chick-peas in a flat bowl with a fork. Mix them into the sauce. Alternatively, you can add them to the sauce whole, then do a kind of less-formal mash with the fork against the side of the pan. This does tend to leave some whole chick-peas, which can be nice for interest, as long as your intended recipients are not afraid of chick-peas. If they are the kind of people who might balk at strange round things in their sauce, mash them first, and thoroughly.

Then add the cheddar cheese. I used to grate it, but then I got lazy, and just tossed it in in smallish chunks. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Don't get too carried away with the cheddar cheese -- it doesn't really mix perfectly with the sauce, and it kind of sticks to everything it touches*.

*I have since discovered the miracle of cream cheese as a sauce additive -- it's a little less fatty than the hard cheeses like cheddar or monterey jack, and (probably partly because of that fact) it mixes in smooth and creamy. Don't tell people you put cream cheese in their spaghetti sauce -- it'll weird them out.

Oh, and kidney beans are not a good substitute for chick-peas, unless you don't mind your pasta vaguely reminding you of chili...


Other Good Spaghetti Sauce Additives

In addition to the:

Cheddar cheese and
Cream cheese mentioned above...
Pesto makes a great additive to spaghetti sauces, obivously.
I like mixing pesto with regular sauce better than a straight pesto on pasta. The spaghetti sauce helps the pesto stick to the pasta, and cuts the fat level (between the olive oil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, pesto has a lot of fat).
Turkey sausage makes it taste all... turkey sausagey.
Kind of smoky, even breakfasty.
Ground turkey (or ground beef).
We don't often add meat to our sauce, but the ground turkey was pretty good!
Black olives. I like to buy the little tiny cans of olives.
They're cheaper if you get them minced instead of whole or sliced, and the smaller size sticks to the pasta instead of getting left behind on the plate. The small cans are just enough for a meal - unlike the chick-peas, which leave you with an awkward half-can you don't know what to do with.
Extra garlic, fresh from the press.
Adding garlic powder just doesn't cut it.
Eggplant. I like to cook some eggplant down to a mush(no skins) and add that.
No one else in the houselikes eggplant, however, so I don't do it often, especially since eggplants are so huge. I should make some mush and freeze it in manageable portions to add to my sauce later.

--- Copyright © 2000 by Alison Frane --- back to the
top of Alison