The Punchy Ingredient To Amp Up Your Tomato Sauces

Is there anything better than the smell of a simmering pot of tomato sauce on the stovetop? When you are in the mood for homemade red sauce, few other things will do. It's homey, hearty, and delicious. For those who are looking for a way to elevate the experience even further, you may find your answer in the most unsuspecting place: lemon zest.

Lemon zest makes foods taste fresher and more complex. Salt does something similar, but lemon zest can do it without the added sodium or salty taste. It won't leave your spaghetti tasting excessively like lemons, but it will bring out the acidity in the tomatoes, making it so that the flavor doesn't fall flat on your tongue. As an added bonus, it helps cut the heaviness of certain elements in the dish like cheese. Whether it's a light summer pasta with tomatoes or a hearty pot of tomato sauce, having a lemon on hand can add a tangy punch.

How to add lemon zest to your tomato sauce

You wouldn't think that any part of a citrus fruit has a place in a tomato sauce, but there's actually a scientific reason why it works: lemons naturally enhance flavor. A flavor enhancer refers to an element that brings out more of the other flavors present in a dish. This is what happens when you incorporate lemon zest into tomato sauce.

To add some lemony punch to your homemade sauce, use a citrus zester to zest the peels of up to two lemons, adding to the recipe in accordance with your personal taste. Be careful not to get much of the white spongy pith, because it has a bitter taste. You can further amplify the zestiness with a squeeze of the juice as well. If you are going to use both, be sure to zest the lemon first, as it's much easier to properly zest the whole fruit as opposed to pieces of it.