We aim to provide you with some practical and important techniques in order to make canned tomato sauce in a better and more optimal way.
Let’s give it up for tomato sauce that comes in a jar! My family has been able to make it through the rationing and empty grocery aisles because of the pantry stability that we have while we are settling in for the quarantine.
Even though most canned tomato sauces are not known for having complex flavor profiles, I’ve discovered that there are some pretty easy methods to improve a jarred marinara sauce and make it a lot more delicious. This is something that I’ve learnt through personal experience.
You should be aware that I have omitted several traditional steps, such as browning ground beef or turkey, or slicing some pancetta or bacon to add, because, in all honesty, I want to keep things as simple as possible. (Even though those are wonderful strategies as well, especially if you are trying to use up leftovers.)
But regardless of what else you put in it, I strongly advise beginning with the best-jarred tomato you can get your hands on. Superior components almost invariably result in better flavor. However, even if you are forced to select the most basic store brand because that is all that is left on the shelf, I can assure you that you already have the foundation for a marinara sauce that has the potential to be genuinely excellent.
Even if you are only successful in implementing one or two of these tips, you will be able to reduce the amount of money you spend on gourmet sauces while maintaining the same level of deliciousness and freshness in your spaghetti, lasagna, or even homemade pizzas.
- Sauté some garlic.
Your container of tomato sauce most likely already contains some garlic (oh, please have some garlic in it! ), but chopping up a fresh clove of garlic when you create the sauce at home makes a world of difference. Additionally, you get to take pleasure in the aroma as it changes into a fragrant and golden brown color.
Before adding your bottled tomato sauce to the pot, bring a little amount of olive oil to a simmer and add some garlic that has been diced. You have the option of including onions in the dish as well, but keep in mind that some children do not enjoy eating onions.
Use good quality olive oil. This is a pro suggestion. Keep in mind that the quality of any food is directly correlated to the quality of the components used to prepare it, and you will undoubtedly be able to taste the difference.
- If your children can handle the heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top.
One of the things that bothers me about bottled tomato sauce is that many brands have a significant amount of additional sugar. However, if that’s all you have, then it’s fine to use. The flavor can be truly brought together with just a touch of crushed red pepper. (I know, I know…my kids won’t eat spicy dishes either. However, even a pinch of pepper flakes can help increase taste without introducing an excessive amount of heat.)
- Include some crisp vegetables in the mix.
If you have a basic marinara on hand, I highly recommend adding your own fresh vegetables to your sauce to pack in some more nutrition and flavor. Some of the greatest bottled tomato sauces already include vegetables, but if you have a basic marinara on hand, you can skip this step. Even though I just got some doughnuts delivered to my door for breakfast (#coronaliving), I am well aware that I might benefit from including a little bit more fresh vegetables into my diet.
Therefore, make the most of this occasion and include some sliced mushrooms, chopped green peppers (which you should add in right after your garlic to sauté), or spinach (add in at the very end and stir until wilted). Even something as simple as a freshly chopped tomato may make a big difference.
Carrots and other vegetables that get sweeter when cooked should be avoided, however, because the sauces that come in jars are already sweet enough.
- Take some fresh basil leaves, or you could use dried herbs instead.
If you have a sprig of basil from your garden or a herb container that sits on your windowsill, you have another fantastic flavor booster for your canned sauce that you can toss in while everything simmers. As is the case with the rind of the parmesan, you will want to remove it before serving.
There is no need to worry if the dried herbs in your spice rack are all you have available. You probably already have a lot of possibilities, such as oregano (which is a must-have for marinara sauce!), tarragon, thyme, and even even dried basil flakes.
Bonus tip: if you have additional fresh basil, julienne some of it, and sprinkle it over each dish just before you are ready to serve it. Check out these suggestions for storing all of your herbs to ensure that they have a longer shelf life and that you are more likely to have some on hand when you require it.
- While the sauce is simmering, add a rind from a parmesan cheese.
That heel of parmesan cheese that you typically throw away, why not save it this time? Save it! If you want your sauce to have a little more umami, you can add it to the pan while it’s simmering. It gives bottled tomato sauce an incredible and incredibly fresh flavor. Just keep in mind that you need to remove it before serving.
- Include a touch of cream or butter in the recipe.
It’s common knowledge that fats are what make the culinary world go ’round. (If you don’t believe me, check out Samin Nosrat’s episode of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat titled “Fat” on Netflix and watch as she sobs with happiness after trying some parmesan. Been there, Sam!)
Once you have removed the saucepan from the heat, add a touch more to your sauce by incorporating either high-quality unsalted butter, milk, or cream into it. It will give the sauce a depth of flavor that will make it impossible to tell that the tomato sauce was purchased in a jar.