The Canned Tomato Sauce Bobby Flay Can't Stop Using

While making a meal from scratch can be a fulfilling endeavor, it's also usually a big time commitment. And if there's one thing we're all short of, it's time. So, on some busier days, sometimes you just have to rely on a pre-made meal for dinner. And there's absolutely no shame in it. In fact, 46% of Americans buy frozen dinners according to the Institute of Food Technologists. And that statistic includes professional chefs too. Take successful celebrity chef Bobby Flay for example. 

According to his website, Flay has been working as a chef for over three decades, learning how to cook anything from Southwestern-inspired dishes to traditional French cuisine. Still, that doesn't mean he's not human. He can't make a cedar plant burger from scratch every night (which, according to Food Network, is one of his best dishes). That's right, sometimes even Bobby Flay relies on things all of us do in our own kitchens — canned ingredients. There is even one pre-made tomato sauce Flay just can't get enough of. So if you want to switch things up for your next spaghetti Sunday while keeping cooking time short, give this a try.

How to spice up your pre-made tomato sauce

If Bobby Flay can do it, so can you. And while Flay uses tomato sauce from a can, he also isn't afraid to add his own magic to it. Here are some ways you can heighten pre-made sauce for a quick dinner too. 

The best thing to do before adding anything to a pre-made sauce is to taste it. Does it need more salt, cayenne pepper, or chiles? Italian seasoning is another classic option to add to the mix. Whatever the sauce needs, you are the judge, so get creative! And if you're looking for a place to start, fresh garlic, dried herbs, or red pepper flakes are a few ingredients to consider.

Per The Pioneer Woman, a dash of olive oil is a great traditional ingredient to add to a sauce. According to Chef Emiliana Livi, this addition works because olive oil brings all the flavors in a sauce together while also adding a special richness (via Huffpost). This is a reason why Chef Livi admits to using it in "abundance" in his own kitchen. Now whatever you decide to add, by the time you're done, you could have just created one of the best tomato sauces, and it only took you five minutes.

Bobby Flay's canned pasta sauce of choice

Bobby Flay keeps one thing in his pantry he can't get enough of. According to People, that is his pasta sauce of choice Simply Sugo. Per the Simply Sugo website, these pasta sauces work great as a base for original recipes. That's exactly how Flay uses this, by adding ingredients of his own to heighten the flavor. "It's already made for you and then you can embellish upon it," Flay says. 

One of the best parts about Flay's method is it cuts cooking time in half. Since the base of the sauce is already done, the rest takes mere minutes. As the Iron Chef says, you only need to boil some salted water, throw some of your pasta of choice in, and turn on your burner for the sauce. From there, the rest is up to you, but here is what Flay suggests. "I'll take out some Calabrian chilies or some crushed red peppers, fresh basil, or some oregano — or whatever kind of herbs I have — some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and you have pasta and it's perfect," he said. 

Now, you might be thinking of giving Flay's tomato sauce upgrade a shot and who knows, maybe your new sauce creation will be even better than you imagined. But, believe it or not, there are a few more easy ways to elevate the sauce.

A few other simple sauce enhancing tips to try

If you're still not convinced, and a bit reluctant to stray from your tried and true sauce recipe, here are a few more simple flavor-heightening ingredients you can add to your pot of sauce. 

Per Southern Living, a little bit of butter goes a long way. Some canned sauces pack in the acidity, and butter can bring a balance to those flavors. If you're dairy-free, there are not tons of butter alternatives on the market which can keep the sauce vegan. According to The Washington Post, throwing in sausage or anchovies can bring new textures to the sauce and enhance salty flavors. Still, whatever you choose to add, simmering your sauce on low heat for 25 minutes can help bring all those flavors together and make for a well-rounded taste.

In addition to using a jarred sauce as a base, the Iron Chef likes to top his tomato sauce off with meatballs and parmesan cheese, and serves garlic bread on the side (per Food Network). Even if cooking is not your forte, you have to admit that Flay's tips make it easy to whip up a sauce.