Easy improvements on spaghetti with store-bought sauce

This is the recipe for the spaghetti I made when cooking for the first time. This easy improvement on the sad pasta-with-butter student staple involves store-bought tomato sauce and simple dorm-room ingredients (it was very much a ‘what do I have in this fridge’ job) but tastes really good! The cheese means that there’s some substance to it despite the absence of meat; the butter makes it taste richer than it actually is, and a bit of sugar brings out the sweetness of real tomatoes and balances the overwhelming tartness of store-bought tomato sauce. There aren’t any quantities in the instructions below, but trust your eye. It knows what food should look like.

My first spaghetti
It actually tastes rather good.

Easy Better Spaghetti

Sans cooking time for the spaghetti, this should take 10 minutes at the very most.


  • spaghetti, cooked (how to cook spaghetti)
  • store-bought spaghetti sauce
  • cheese (I used mozzarella designed for pizza)
  • tomato(es)
  • butter
  • garlic, chopped
  • rosemary (I used coarsely chopped needles, but flakes or anything should be fine)
  • sugar


  1. In a shallow pan, sauté garlic in butter. (This is the most complicated-sounding step. It really just involves greasing a hot pan with some butter, adding the garlic, and pushing it around until it looks very slightly brown and starts to smell good.)
  2. Add as much spaghetti sauce as needed, then add pasta and stir well.
  3. Add lots of cheese – try to sprinkle it where the heat can get to it faster – wait for it to melt a little, and mix into the pasta. At this point you can also add some rosemary so you don’t end up with it all concentrated on top afterwards.
  4. Transfer this to a plate.
  5. Chop a tomato any way you want, and add it to the pan; press on it a little with the spatula to get some juice out.
  6. Add a pinch of sugar and mix until the sugar seems integrated into the tomatoes/juice.
  7. Put the pasta back in and mix well with this.
  8. Remove and sprinkle some rosemary on top.
  9. Be proud of yourself.

I feel like this is so simple that giving it a blog post is way over the top and will make me a laughingstock – but I am posting it anyway because think it will actually be useful to people who have no clue how to feed themselves other than instant ramen and microwaveable instant oatmeal (see: me before today). If it is of help to you, please let me know in the comments so I can feel less silly!