Stop Buying Jarred Tomato Sauce Because Bobby’s Homemade Recipe Is the Only Thing You Need

The flavor difference is huge — and he'll teach you how to make it on Food Network Kitchen.

November 01, 2019

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When it comes to food and cooking, I believe in several things very strongly: It’s better to over-salt than under-salt. The rarer the steak, the better. Never, ever walk away from nuts and spices as they’re toasting. And, don’t be a hero. That last one is crucial.

I am ALL for taking shortcuts in the kitchen. Using frozen fruit is a genius move when berries and peaches are out of season. Buying pre-cut peeled and butternut squash will give you back hours in your day. And don’t even get me started on store-bought puff pastry; that stuff is always the way to go. Us home cooks should take advantage of everything we can to make our time in the kitchen a little easier and more enjoyable. Except — and you knew this was coming — jarred tomato sauce. Hear me out.

Recently Bobby Flay made Penne with Tomatoes and Basil in an on-demand cooking class on the Food Network Kitchen app, and his bright, savory sauce came together in just 20 minutes. That’s it! When you think of the time and tools it takes to make pasta with a jarred tomato sauce, it’s actually similar to whipping up the homemade version. Bobby’s sauce recipe calls for only three main ingredients (and I bet they’re things you already have in the fridge and pantry) and simmers in a single pan.

So you’re probably thinking, “Uh, Maria, if they’re the pretty much same thing, why bother with a homemade sauce?!” Because the flavor really is so much better.

When you make your own tomato sauce, you can control exactly what goes into it. Bobby likes canned Italian plum tomatoes, plus fragrant onions and garlic, and simple seasonings. If you’ve ever peeked at the ingredient list on a jar of sauce, you know that there can be some wonky stuff hiding in there. Once you master the base recipe, you can experiment with flavors and ingredients to get something new (vodka + cream for a vodka sauce, chile flakes for arrabiata sauce, etc.), and that’s ultimately what will keep things interesting.

I know that the temptation of a jarred tomato sauce lies in it being ready to go right when you need it. If you plan ahead, you can prep a big batch of homemade sauce and stash it in the fridge for a few days. It’s not shelf-stable like the jar, but if you whip it up on Sunday afternoon, it’ll indeed save the day when you get home late on Tuesday night and need dinner fast.

If you want to make Bobby’s Penne with Tomatoes and Basil — or any of his other weeknight-friendly recipes — you can find it on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app. You’ll be able to drop in to Bobby’s classes and learn all about cooking quick meals with big flavors and so much more.

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