While most of us, especially busy moms, would love to be able to quickly prepare a fresh batch of spaghetti sauce every time we make noodles, that is just not the case. In most cases, it is simpler to simply grab a jar of pre-made pasta sauce for a midweek meal. Even jarred pasta sauce can have a handmade flavor. In truth, there are several kitchen tricks you may use to replicate your grandmother’s recipe’s pasta sauce in a jar.
We’ll go over all the details on how to improve canned pasta sauce if you’re seeking for ways to spice up jarred pasta sauce. You can make boiling noodles and reheating some sauce taste like a gourmet supper by using these jar pasta sauce hacks.
Check out these top seven suggestions to improve the flavor of that jar of pasta sauce you have in your cupboard:
Sautee Some Veggies
Sautéing some garlic in olive oil on the stovetop is the first step to enhancing your jar of pasta sauce. Even though fresh garlic is usually added to store-bought spaghetti sauces, the flavor will be stronger and more pronounced. Overall, the sauce tastes more homemade as a result.
Add some other vegetables, such as diced onions, peppers, and carrots, to the skillet along with the garlic. These items will complement the majority of sauces, but you may be more inventive with your vegetables by including some spinach, kale strips, sliced zucchini, or cubed eggplant. Throwing in fresh vegetables will give you a robust, rich, and homemade-tasting sauce in addition to a boost in nutrients.
Mix in Some Meat
You can sauté some beef for your sauce in the same pan that you used to cook your vegetables. Your canned pasta sauce will taste much better if you add some meat to it. Your sauce will taste better, have more texture, a heartier flavor, and more protein if you brown and add some sausage, turkey, chicken, or ground beef.
One of the greatest meats to add to your bottled spaghetti sauce to get that authentic Italian flavor is Italian sausage. Italian sausage may add the extra flavor your pasta recipe requires, whether it is sliced, ground, or made into meatballs. Additionally, adding some protein-rich sausage to your pasta sauce can make your family feel satisfied for a longer period of time.
Add a Splash of Red Wine
Put a little red wine in the pan if you truly want pasta sauce that rivals that of a fine restaurant. The addition of wine beautifully layers the flavors of the sauce, giving it a depth that jarred pasta sauce typically lacks. Because there won’t be enough time to entirely cook off the alcohol, you should only use a small amount of red wine in your sauce to bring out its flavor without overpowering it with an overpowering alcohol flavor, much to using vanilla extract in baking.
Before adding other ingredients to a skillet that has recently completed cooking meat, make sure to drain the pan to prevent getting extra grease into the sauce. Then add a little wine and stir to scrape off any meat or vegetable scraps stuck to the bottom of the pan. Deglazing the pan is a method of cooking that involves doing this. You can add flavors to your sauce that would otherwise burn onto the stove surface by using this cooking technique.
Spice It Up
Your canned pasta sauce will taste like it just left the garden if you add fresh herbs to it. Even while the pre-made sauce may already contain some herbs, using fresh ones will improve the flavor. You may up the flavor of your sauce by adding some oregano, thyme, or basil strips.
Although dried herbs and spices can function just as well, fresh herbs may pop a little more. Your canned spaghetti sauce can be made more flavorful by adding some red pepper flakes, a touch of parsley, and a splash of salt and pepper. Although you can add dry herbs to the sauce at any time, you might want to wait until the sauce is completely heated before adding fresh herbs as a garnish so they don’t lose their fresh flavor.
Include a more striking ingredient in your spaghetti sauce, such as olives, lemon zest, or capers, if you really want to make it stand out. You can substantially brighten or deepen your dish depending on the component you use. To add additional tomato taste and thicken the sauce if it seems too thin, mix in more tomato paste in addition to these flavorings.
When cooking pasta, there is no restriction on how much cheese you can use. The addition of cheese can deepen the tastes of your sauce. You can use a variety of cheeses, from mozzarella to parmesan, depending on the sauce and pasta dish you’re cooking.
Your pasta’s texture can be improved by using a softer cheese. For instance, adding a dollop of ricotta to the dish’s top can give the sauce a pleasantly creamy feel. Make the spaghetti sauce smooth and silky by adding some mascarpone, cream cheese, ricotta, or burrata.
Stir in More Dairy
Just before serving, you can add some heavy cream or milk to your sauce to make it creamier and richer. Giving your sauce a silkier, more silky texture can also help it adhere to the pasta more effectively. If you don’t have any dairy in the fridge, you may assist the flavors meld and improve the pasta’s coating by adding a generous drizzle of olive oil to the sauce after it has been taken off the heat.
Just before taking your spaghetti sauce off the heat, swirl a pat of butter into it for a professional chef move. A small amount of butter will lessen the sauce’s acidity while increasing taste and giving it a smooth, velvety texture.
Pop It in the Oven
Using jarred spaghetti sauce in a baked pasta dish is always a good idea. The sugars in the pre-made pasta sauce caramelize as they cook down and deepen from absorbing some of the flavors from other components in the dish while baking in the oven. Jarred pasta sauce is a fantastic choice for baked pasta meals like lasagna, meatballs, or baked ziti.
How can you improve the flavor of tomato sauce?
People prefer tomato sauces that are both acidic and sweet, as taste tests have repeatedly demonstrated. The issue is that tomatoes aren’t particularly sweet on their own—far less sweet than how I (or the majority of others) want them. I’ll be honest with you here: I’ve been known to add a little sugar to my tomato sauce in the past, which supposedly irritates hardliners to no end. I’m not changing my mind about it; adding sugar is a perfectly acceptable approach to give a sauce sweetness.
Not the best way, but perfectly acceptable. There are additional techniques that enable you to incorporate sweetness while still incorporating layers of complex flavor.
Many people suggest using carrots into red sauce to bring out the sweetness. Right away, I tried grating some carrots and frying them with some garlic. The sauce becomes sweeter, yes, but it also tastes like carrot soup.
Simply chopping a carrot into rough chunks and adding it to the pot as the sauce simmers is a far better strategy. Recall the onion I purposefully avoided include in my sauce? This is where it is relevant: In order to give it a little more sweetness and onion flavor without overpowering it or affecting the texture, I also added a raw onion to the mixture. a tip I picked it from Marcella Hazan’s renownedly straightforward (and wonderful) buttery tomato sauce.
My sauce, which I sweetened with boiled carrots, was decent but not exceptional. What did it lack? I was stirring my sauce regularly while it simmered on the stovetop, keeping a close eye on it as Ray Liotta does in the movie Goodfellas to prevent the tomatoes from browning and sticking to the bottom.
I told myself to wait a second. What if I don’t want to be stirring constantly? Dare I disobey Ray? Suppose some browning is actually acceptable? Well, not exactly, but go with it since it improves the tale, okay?
How do you create the ideal sauce?
It can seem intimidating to start playing the sauce game, but it isn’t really that difficult. These pointers will assist you in becoming the sauce expert you deserve to be, from creating a straightforward pan sauce to beginning with slow-simmering stocks.
Start with fresh ingredients
You want to start with the best ingredients because most sauces concentrate the flavors of whatever items you’re using. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use practically mushy carrots or old, wilted celery when making a flavorful stock. As your stock is reduced, any undesirable flavors will become more apparent and your sauce will turn out poorly.
Make your own stock
Homemade stock is the foundation of the best stock-based sauces. Making a creamy mushroom sauce from scratch using homemade chicken or mushroom stock will result in a lot more tasty sauce than using something from a carton or can. For an even fuller flavor, you can also try roasting your chicken, beef, or pork bones before boiling them.
How can tomato sauce be made to taste sweeter?
“Add a pinch of sugar if it feels a touch too acidic,” the chef said. Add it the same way you would add salt: a little at a time, until you achieve the desired flavor, and without feeling guilty.
Which spices should I use in spaghetti sauce?
Add ingredients to a plain tomato sauce (marinara) to give it more flavor. Red pepper flakes, dried oregano, parsley, or basil, fresh or dehydrated garlic, and Italian seasoning mix are also suitable alternatives. It is best to add dried herbs and spices early on in the cooking process so they have time to bloom. Before serving the sauce, fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano, should be tossed in. Basil-containing tomato sauces in jars are not for me. In contrast to fresh herbs, the leaves frequently have a slimy feel and don’t flavor the sauce very much.
How many garlic cloves should be added to spaghetti sauce?
the homemade spaghetti sauce recipe that my family uses It is the best spaghetti sauce recipe we’ve tried and goes particularly well with meatballs.
As you can see from the image, we like to simmer the meatballs in the sauce before serving them with spaghetti and meatballs, but you are free to remove this step and have a meat-free sauce.
You could also prepare this sauce and then cook any additional meat of your choice in it to create a meat sauce, which is something we occasionally do. The choices are truly unlimited because you may adjust the amount of spices you add to suit your family’s preferences.
Here is a simple recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce that you may use to produce a variety of dishes.
- 2 medium yellow onions, cut finely
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced finely
- Diced tomatoes in two 28-ounce cans
- To cover the pan’s bottom with olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 salt shakerful
- a single peppercorn
- Basil, dried and chopped, 1 1/2 tablespoons
* I’ve discovered that every household prefers a varied range of garlic amounts in their homemade spaghetti sauce. Depending on how many cloves your family prefers, you can add or remove them. For instance, our friends who adore garlic very much add 10–12 cloves!
If you are not browning any meat to go into the sauce, you only need the olive oil. The homemade spaghetti sauce will taste more meaty if it is cooked in the same pan that you browned the beef in.
We like our homemade spaghetti sauce to be sweet, but if you like a sauce that isn’t quite as sweet, I recommend reducing the sugar to 1 tablespoon.
In a big sauce pan that you can subsequently cover, pour your olive oil (or use the same pan you earlier browned meat in, without first rinsing it, and use that fat and grease instead).
When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté them for two to three minutes before adding the garlic and continuing with the cooking process. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Put your tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, basil, and oil into your blender or food processor and blend everything together, as seen in the picture on the left, while those components are cooking.
Bring to a boil the sauce mixture in the sauce pan with the onions and garlic. After the sauce starts to boil, add any meat or meatballs you’re using to the sauce.
After that, simmer your sauce and cover it. Allow the sauce to simmer for a while. The sauce should simmer for at least an hour, but we’ve found that two hours is necessary to entirely reduce the acidity in the tomatoes. However, in general, the longer the better.
Taste the sauce before serving, and if necessary, adjust the flavor by adding more sugar, salt, or other ingredients.
Despite the fact that my kids don’t mind using store-bought spaghetti sauce on hectic nights, this recipe is unquestionably kid-friendly. They are thrilled to learn that we are making our own spaghetti sauce.
Why do tomato sauces contain butter?
The key to a perfect spaghetti sauce is balance. Chefs and home cooks spend hours sweating over the stove removing the sharpness from onions, gradually reducing stocks, and softening fresh vegetables to try to achieve this elusive quality. But the secret ingredient in this three-ingredient red sauce recipe from a well-known cookbook author turns all of these sauce-making methods on their heads: butter. Here’s the company we like best.
How to Make Marcella Hazan’s Super-Easy Pasta Sauce
In the United States, Marcella Hazan is most recognized for introducing Italian cuisine. (These are some of our go-to Italian recipes for home cooking.) One of her most original recipes is also one of her best-known. It’s uncommon to be able to create the flavors of a traditional Italian dinner in under an hour using only three ingredients and some salt, but this recipe truly is that simple.
My Taste Test
The night I was cooking Hazan’s sauce, I had the smallest grocery list I had ever used when I went shopping. (See these dinners with five ingredients or less for more dishes requiring only a few simple items.) I was dubious about how four ingredients could create a well-known dish as I made my way home with my incredibly light shopping bag.
I threw the ingredients in and mixed throughout commercial breaks as I caught up on The Bachelorette, which needed absolutely little effort on my part. My first taste completely dispelled all of my fears just over an hour later. This woman is very intelligent.
A rich, thick mouthfeel from the butter was accompanied by a deep tomato taste that lacked any acidic bite. As I began incorporating the pasta into the sauce, I was astounded by how vivid and colorful the sauce looked in contrast to its more subdued flavor. The sauce is also quite light, so each piece of pasta was nicely coated (I was using linguini but you can make your own pasta). The herbs and garlic from my go-to sauce recipes weren’t at all missed by me.
The onion I took out of the pot and ate was actually my favorite part of cooking this sauce. I only used a fork to eat it, but I could envision it spread on some crostini as the ideal appetizer!
Why Butter Makes It Better
This recipe appears to be so simple and amazing. But the butter is what’s doing the actual magic. The fresh onion and tomato acid are tempered by the five entire tablespoons of butter’s fat. The sauce has so much fat that cooking the onions to remove their acidic bite is not necessary.
Additionally, butter serves as an emulsifier, creating a thick, velvety sauce without the added texture that comes from using olive oil. Although olive oil is a traditional Italian flavor, you don’t necessarily want it in a sauce, especially when emphasizing the vibrant tomato qualities. Even delicacies like these recipes for buttery desserts benefit from the flavor-enhancing properties of butter.
The next time a taste test reveals that your homemade sauce is a little too tart, mix in a couple of tablespoons of butter to soften the bold tastes. Serve after that and thank Marcella Hazan for saving the meal!