The Surprising Ingredient Giada De Laurentiis Uses To Sweeten Pasta Sauce

Whether you love Giada De Laurentiis or love to hate her, one thing is for sure: she knows pasta. The celebrity chef has about 300 pasta recipes on Food Network's website, so if she's here to spill the tea on pasta sauce, we're all ears. Food Network's FN Dish series shared the star's secret for sweetening pasta sauce, and no, it's not sugar. If you're wondering why you'd need to sweeten pasta sauce in the first place, Taste of Home explains, it's all about balance. Tomatoes can be acidic and sugar cuts through that acidity, resulting in a more balanced flavor in your sauce.

As De Laurentiis whipped up a crab and cherry tomato pasta in a live cooking demo on Food Network's app, a viewer asked if she ever adds sugar to her sauces in order to sweeten them. The chef responded by saying sugar is never her first solution. Even though we know De Laurentiis goes to great lengths to maintain her petite figure (she allegedly spits out the food she tastes on her own show), we doubt omitting a pinch of sugar in her sauce is a means of saving calories. In fact, De Laurentiis claims sugar in a pasta sauce "gets sweet very fast." Instead, she recommends using carrots. According to the chef, her "family always added carrot" to sauces to tone down the acidity.

Use carrots instead of sugar to sweeten your pasta sauce

Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Tomato Sauce recipe uses one whole carrot, chopped small and sautéed along with other ingredients to presumably add that sweet balance we're looking for. PopSugar agrees that carrots are a great way to add understated sweetness to your pasta sauce and recommends pulverizing them in a food processor first so they'll mix with your sauce easily. De Laurentiis says if carrots don't do the trick, try finishing the sauce with butter to get rid of any acidic flavor. Another option? Giada says to use a sweeter tomato, like canned cherry tomatoes.

Bon Appétit claims cherry tomatoes are naturally sweeter than other varieties and they're canned when they're at their sweetest. They also point out cherry tomatoes' smaller size means more tomato skin gets into your dish, which can add a texture that improves the meal. If you feel compelled to stick with sugar to sweeten your pasta sauce, De Laurentiis cautions not to use too much and start with just a half a teaspoon. Armed with these tricks, you'll never be stuck with an overly acidic pasta sauce again.