16 ways to make jarred tomato sauce much better

For many weekly dinners of the week, my goal is to reduce the interval between entering my apartment and eating pasta. The final victory, of course, will be to go through the door while: eating pasta (or – if the angels came down – to get home to the table already set mak և cheese): Instead, I usually settle for a marinara sauce made from scratch within 30 minutes. boil the water while changing clothes; cook noodles greens while frying with fresh garlic; Add pasta to the mentioned greens, along with cooking liquid, plenty of pecorino, olive oil, fresh herbs; face-plant on a plate.

On the other hand, my parents reduced the amount of time they spent pasta at the door by simply using the microwave և store-bought marinara sauce jar we always had in the fridge. Boil the pasta, microwave sauce (or heat it in a saucepan on the stove if you really feel overwhelmed), mix the two together, and close your hungry group.

Many greedy home cooks can close their noses with store-bought “spaghetti sauce”, but at the end of a long day, this is the fastest way to get noodles with red sauce. it’s faster than cooking canned tomatoes with onions and fresh garlic olive oilև red wine, which: despite the urgingsI do not always I have in my pantry

And yet, most of the sauces made on the jars can benefit from a little acid to reach their full potential for flavor and freshness. Some cans of tomato sauce are really superior to others. Look for sauces that use whole tomatoes և without added sugar. Here is the Cook’s Illustrated: the best teams. As for our team, we agree that the best jar of marinara sauce, hands down, is Rao’s. Staff Writer Kelly Vaughn is a dedicated user, as is Margaret Abbey, Editor-in-Chief, and Lucy Simon, Assistant Editor. Lucy, however, makes a strong distinction. “It must be Marinara, no tomato basil sauce. “

Here’s how to make a spaghetti sauce jar with flavor like this much better (if not completely homemade) easily.

Bare bones, do-this-one-thing approach.

1. Cut it on the stove or oven. To evaporate the flavor of store-bought pasta sauce, cook it so that some of the water evaporates, leaving you with a thicker, thicker tomato sauce. As your saucepan heats up, ար your noodles are cooked, let your sauce cook on the stove for at least 10-20 minutes. Alternatively, pour the sauce into a Dutch oven or baking dish and fry at 300 ° F, stirring occasionally. This will take a few extra minutes, of course, but you need to reheat the sauce before mixing it with your pasta. If, in other words, you do not back down! My father is the best bad culinary adviceIf the pasta is hot, you can add cold pasta sauce to it. If you want to spend more և more (or you are obsessed with instant cooking), try cooking the sauce with half a sliced ​​onion and a few tablespoons of butter. Marcella Hazan.

2. Squeeze in tomato paste to enhance the unusual taste. Let’s say you do not do Take the time to cook your sauce (or you cut it short but still short), add one or two dolls. tomato paste, which… is just a super-duper condensed tomato. Bonus points if you overcome all the power of your tomato paste by frying it in hot olive oil before adding it to the sauce. Ultra bonus points if you also put some red pepper flakes in that oil to hit a little.

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3. Go to your spice: spice rackIf your sauce does not have depth և complexity, open your pantry or refrigerator և start exploring. Decide if you aim for spicy (Sriracha, gochujang, cayenne, harissa, horseradish), smoked (smoked paprika, diced chipotlin in adobo) or fruit (roasted red pepper, Calabrian chili). . Remember to taste often, until everything gets too wild.

4. Add parmesan or pecorino peel while it cooks. Frequently discarded cheese peel can help to make the sauce more salty and delicious. a pot of humble beans և it can և enliven your tomato sauce. Toss the sliced ​​onion while you are on it. Professional tip. Store your Parm’s peel in the refrigerator (just wrap it tightly և in an airtight container). Whenever you want to make a jar of store-bought tomato sauce, the peel will be ready to go.

5. Speaking of salt I do not know whatAdd anchovies. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan, fry the anchovies or two until they start to melt, forget about it, add some crushed garlic cloves, if you have them, then add the tomato sauce to your jar. Call me crazy, but I’m also known for skipping anchovies եմ adding a little fish sauce և a piece of soy sauce instead.

6. Use the power of fried vegetables. Before heating the sauce, fry the vegetables until they start to brown. I usually keep the main one with onions and garlic, but they work well with marmalade (celery, carrots, onions) or a few handfuls of sliced ​​mushrooms. What if you? Degrease the pan With wine or stock, you will not leave behind any caramelized pieces.

7. Bend in the garlic. Most store-bought sauces contain at least garlic, but the flavor often fades in the jar. Add the garlic factor and fry a few minced or crushed cloves in olive oil for a few minutes before adding the sauce. For a richer, sweeter taste, mash some fried garlic cloves and mix until the sauce is cooked through.

8. Live things with a little acid. Try apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, lead, chopped olives or lemon juice. If the sauce is very sour, as many store-bought varieties are known,use only lemon flavor instead. Stir at the end of the cooking process to keep it as fresh as possible.

9. Sweeten the items with a little sugar.
If the tomato sauce in your jar is too sour, consider adding a pinch or two of sugar (eventually, it makes the medicine go down). Canned sauces can sometimes make you cringe when you do not have the required balance of homemade sauce. As the sauce heats up, add a pinch of granulated sugar, stirring to taste, until the sauce is right. Avoid brown և powdered sugar, which will give the mixture a contradictory taste.

10. Brighten with salt water. Olives and lead add sweetness և tomato sauce gives a real personality. Pour a few chopped or whole, stone-free olives և / or heat a handful of dried lead sauce for a few minutes. Or, if you add garlic or fried vegetables, add them to the pan immediately before pouring the sauce. They bring such salt to the anchovies, but are suitable for vegetarians.

11. Basil! Basil! Basil! You will find many “basil owners” floating in store-bought jars. These are so dark, muddy, algae that it is hard to imagine that they were once on the basil plant. Add to correct the situation freshly torn basil Finally, heat your sauce so that its aroma makes the whole pot fragrant, maintaining a bright green color.

12. Get butter և other dairy products. To make your sauce rich and luxurious, finish it with a piece of butter, a sprinkling of cream or coconut cream or a spoonful of yogurt, whipped cream or sour cream.

13. Pour in high quality olive oil Adding a glass to the sauce just before serving gives it a butter-like richness and shine without adding dairy. We especially like olive oil Brightland, Costerinaև: Colossians (which you can all buy Food52 Shop:!).

14. Cheese it. A ricotta or mascarpone doll adds a light, creamy hue, while soft goat cheese or even modest cream cheese adds a spicy richness to the dull tomato sauce. Sprinkling freshly grated parmesan cheese generously on any plate of pasta makes it look cluttered, while also adding a hint of oumi greeting.

15. Make it meaty. Add a little whipped cream և texture to your sauce, adding red meat to the mixture. Crushed Italian sausage (for those looking for a mild or hot heat) or ground beef, pork or lamb, all go well with tomato sauce. Fry the meat in a frying pan, break it with a wooden spoon, squeeze the meat out of excess oil or fat before adding the tomato sauce, and cook until the pasta is cooked through.

16. Use your pasta water. We will never sing the praises of pasta water. Starch-containing, salted water is a natural thickener that will improve the texture of jar pasta sauce. You will not want to add a bucket of water to the bowl, but sprinkling plenty of water with that starch will help the sauce stick to the noodles (but you already knew that):


How do you dress for your store-bought tomato sauce? Let us know in the comments!


This article was updated in May 2022 by our editors, who are always looking for ways to improve their pasta game.

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