The Sweet Ingredient You Should Add To Your Spaghetti And Meatballs
Food - Drink
You won’t find a dish like spaghetti and meatballs on the menu at many restaurants in Italy, but you can use a trick long practiced there to elevate the flavor of your tomato sauces. Tomatoes are naturally acidic, and just a pinch of sugar can counteract this so that the actual tomato flavor begins to emerge.
"A pinch of sugar is a Southern Italian trick that was used when the sauce was made with end-of-season tomatoes that did not get ripe, or the tomatoes were so tart they needed to be balanced," according to Michael Chiarello, chef and owner of Bottega Restaurant. Underripe, low-quality, or canned tomatoes can be even more acidic, which is where the sugar comes in.
Celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentiis has her own twist on this tradition, using the natural sweetness of carrots instead of sugar. If you decide to add sugar, she advises against adding more than half a teaspoon, and agrees with Chiarello that it's best to taste as you go.