Canned, packaged, or jarred pasta sauce can dramatically improve its flavor, texture, and appearance just by adding a staple to your pantry
Store-bought pasta sauce can save you time when you need to make a quick meal. Canned sauces can improve their flavor and consistency by adding a few key ingredients, one of which you probably already have in your kitchen: red bell pepper.
Some canned pasta sauces already use red pepper in their recipes, but in very little quantity, adding a little more of the mildly hot spice can make a world of difference.
Flaked or ground red pepper improves not only the texture and flavor, but also the appearance. In white sauces it’s a good contrast, while in tomato sauces the pasta can look artisanal.
As with many spices, overuse can ruin a dish. When adding the bell pepper to the pasta sauce, do so a little at a time.
Other ingredients that improve your pasta
The Pioneer Woman features extra virgin olive oil, red wine, and fresh garlic as other ingredients that will make your canned pasta sauce that much better.
Olive oil can be added to the pot from the beginning or drizzled on when serving as a finishing oil.
Fresh garlic will give it a more powerful and homemade flavor. While red wine adds a layer of flavors.
You don’t need to add a lot of wine, just a couple of tablespoons is enough. One option is to sauté garlic and onion, then add a little wine and drain the sauce.
Other ingredients that can add layers of flavor and depth to the sauce are olives or a little lemon juice.
You can also add dried or fresh herbs like: oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon, and parsley.
heat the sauce
Epicurious advises never pouring jarred or canned sauce directly onto pasta. He suggests heating the sauce in a separate pot, this will help the sugars caramelize and release the aromas.
Once the sauce is hot, it’s time to add seasonings, such as red pepper flakes or fresh garlic.