Have you ever seen someone add a dash of sugar to their spaghetti sauce? Or, maybe you've tasted extra sweetness in the spaghetti someone lovingly cooked for you? Either way, there is a reason why people tend to put sugar in their spaghetti dishes.
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To put it simply, people put sugar in spaghetti sauce to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes. This can be especially handy if you're dealing with an eater who doesn't love how bitter tomato sauce can be.
Depending on the type of tomatoes used, you'll need to adjust the amount of sugar to account for how acidic the fruits are (yes, a tomato is a fruit!). In addition to different varieties, whether the tomatoes are canned or fresh can also affect the flavor.
On the food blog Warm Chef, it's recommended that you wait until the tomato sauce is fully cooked before tasting to see if sugar is needed. "The long cooking process entices the sweetness out of the tomatoes," reads the blog. "According to experts, it is better to taste the sauce after you have cooked it. After tasting, [if] you feel like it is too acidic, that's the perfect time to add sugar."
If you want to try out this sugar hack with a recipe as your guide, you can use Amanda Gates' Spaghetti Sauce I recipe on Allrecipes. If you'd prefer a vegetarian or vegan recipe without ground beef, check out Happy Veggie Kitchen's Best Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce, which uses brown sugar for a touch of sweetness.
The takeaway: Next time tomato sauce causes your face to pucker, considering adding a dash of sugar.