Giada De Laurentiis Uses This Trick To Upgrade Any Store-Bought Marinara Sauce

It's good to know that even professional celebrity chefs pull a store-bought jar of pasta sauce from their pantry from time to time. It's understandable, of course. Food Network stars like Giada De Laurentiis are busy people just like us who don't always have the time, energy, or inclination to make sauce from scratch every time they serve pasta. (They cook all day, after all!) Besides, there are plenty of good jarred sauces out there, no matter what our great-aunts from the Old Country say.

We'd even go as far as to say some jarred sauces are great. But chefs like De Laurentiis know how to take a perfectly fine store-bought marinara sauce and give it a little something extra. How does this famous TV star, cookbook author, and restaurateur upgrade grocery store marinara? A recent post on her Giadzy website walks us through it. The trick is to add just to add a few extra ingredients that will transform a good sauce to your own delicious, customized creation.

Use extra herbs, spices, and this surprise ingredient

Giada De Laurentiis' trick to upgrading store-bought marinara is to start by adding the essential Italian flavors of onions and garlic. But Giada doesn't simply plop them in the sauce. According to the post on Giadzy, she heats 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, then adds half a diced onion and some smashed or chopped garlic. After it cooks for a bit and the onions are translucent, then Giada pours in the sauce and lets it all simmer together.

The chef then adds a one- or two-inch piece of rind from a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano. (Side note: Always keep your rinds!  Giada uses them to infuse cheesy, salty flavor not only to marinara but to soups and stews as well.) At the same time, it's suggested to add some fresh basil leaves for sweet, herbal flavor. Let the cheese rind and the basil simmer in your sauce for 15 minutes and voila! — it's just like a fancy homemade sauce.

If you share Giada's affinity for Calabrian chilies, you can add some of these in paste form. Calabrian chile paste adds not just spice but an extra depth of flavor as well. If you don't have the paste, toss in some red pepper flakes while the sauce simmers. Finally, it's no secret that some chefs swear by adding butter to their red sauce, and Giada is one of them. Dropping just a spoonful at the end of the cooking process can "completely change" the texture of your marinara, transforming it to something smooth and creamy.

Upgraded supermarket marinara sauce a la Giada? We can do this.