A Drizzle Of Balsamic Will Balance Out Overly Rich Store-Bought Alfredo

A jar of store-bought Alfredo sauce can be a true lifesaver for busy days. Just pop it open and heat it up, and your pasta dish is already halfway done thanks to the sauce's incredibly rich flavor. The downside, unfortunately, is the flavor may not always be as up to par as when you're making Alfredo sauce from scratch, as jarred varieties are oftentimes too rich. But there's a quick remedy that can solve everything — just drizzle in some balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar has its own unique kind of tanginess, backed by luscious, richly sweet notes. This complexity cuts right through Alfredo sauce's thick, cloying creaminess. Balsamic's fruity undertones and caramel, honey-like hints also make a stunning contrast with the white sauce's savory elements. In place of the usual one-dimensional taste are now diverse layers of flavor, ranging from vibrantly sweet and tangy to deeply tart.

If regular balsamic somehow seems too daunting to experiment with, fear not, there's also the option of white balsamic. Cooked at a lower temperature and aged for a shorter time to avoid any caramelization, this golden-hued rendition still carries that signature fruity sweetness but with a cleaner and gentler aftertaste. It, too, brightens Alfredo sauce with a light flair, balancing out the inherent heaviness without loading anything else extra into the mix.

Transform your store-bought sauce in a flash

Balsamic vinegar is notoriously intense, so a little goes a long way when working with it. To use the vinegar in this rescue-saving mission, first warm up your store-bought Alfredo sauce in a pan as usual, but add about a 1/2 tablespoon of balsamic and gently stir. Then taste and adjust as needed.

Accompanying the balsamic sauce could be a myriad of other ingredients that can take your Alfredo sauce up a notch. Something as simple as lime or lemon juice can brighten up the overall profile in an instant. With a bit more time, you could also mince garlic and sauté it a bit before adding to the sauce for a more pronounced aroma. How about some dry white wine for a more authentic feel? Various spices, such as paprika, cayenne, onion powder, Italian seasoning, etc. can all be used to induce spicy, savory hints as well. And if you're in the mood for an exquisite flair, herbs are the quickest shortcut: A sprig of thyme or dill can do more wonders than you think.

Needless to say, adding balsamic to your store-bought Alfredo sauce not only rounds out its flavors but also enhances its already versatile usage. You've got the all-time classics like chicken fettuccine, but a steak with a balsamic Alfredo glaze is certainly worth a try. Sautéed vegetables would also work stunningly with this newly-improved sauce, as would grilled meat like chicken and shrimp.