If you're not cooking for a crowd and don't need to use an entire jar of spaghetti sauce, it's good to know that putting extra sauce back into the jar presents few problems. Safety concerns about keeping the sauce are much the same as with other types of leftovers, but you need to use some caution about pouring the sauce back into the jar. The good news is that you have lots of options for using the leftover sauce in new dishes.
How It's Done
Both safety and practicality come into play when putting spaghetti sauce back in its jar. Make sure the sauce has cooled to minimize the risk of having the glass jar shatter -- the risk is small, but different glass jars have different levels of safety tempering. Use a funnel to make pouring go smoothly with fewer spills, and either let the sauce cool in the jar before picking it up, or use a potholder to protect your hands when you lift the jar.
Keeping It Safe
Although tomato sauce is acidic, which keeps bacteria from growing longer than foods that aren't acidic, it still has a limited storage life in your refrigerator. Put the sauce in the fridge as soon as possible and at least within two hours after taking it off the stove. The sauce with its lid on tightly will keep safely in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Using the Sauce
Beyond simply adding the leftover sauce to another jar of sauce the next time you have spaghetti, use it to add an acidic brightness to other dishes. Add the entire leftover sauce to soups, from minestrone to cream of cauliflower, and to stews, from chili to chicken stroganoff. Or, add it to other sauces, such as enchilada sauce or a white sauce for creamed spinach. The sauce can also flavor risotto or braising liquids and can moisten leftover meats or vegetables.
Improving the Sauce
If you want to use the leftover spaghetti sauce again for spaghetti, you'll need to add new ingredients to increase the amount you have. By doing so, you can also improve its flavor. Begin by cooking aromatics, such as chopped onions and garlic. Then add either canned diced tomatoes or another jar of spaghetti sauce to your leftover sauce. A splash of red wine adds depths of flavor, as does a generous pinch of red chili flakes and dried or fresh basil.
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