Food & Drink

An Italian grandmother takes pasta sauce to the next level with these 2 secret ingredients

Time to turn up the heat on your red sauce.

Everybody in New York City has a pasta preference and is just waiting to brag that their grandmother’s pecorino romano-fueled pot is better.

Still, many home chefs get hurdled by the little things that go a long way taste-wise — especially producing a sweetness that is not noticeably acidic.

The secret to balancing this critical flavor juncture lies within two unusual suspects: sugar and, perhaps more curiously, baking soda.

Want to have your sauce stand out? Here are two secret tips. Getty Images/iStockphoto

This duo has been harnessed by experts and grandmothers alike — the popular TikTok page Sepps Eats boasted that his grandma does this as well because it can tone down acid and the heartburn that follows.

Baking soda can tone down acidity in sauce. Getty Images

“Good old baking soda is an alkaline that will help balance the excess acid,” according to Southern Living.

“A little pinch should do the trick.”

It’s important to not overload, according to the recipe site Dr. Gourmet.

Try adding either sugar or baking soda to your sauce to give it an edge. Getty Images

“Too much and it will taste soapy,” they advise.

“Notice that there is no need to add salt — there’s enough in the baking soda.”

Allrecipes advises adding in incremental doses for several minutes to allow the baking soda to dissolve and do its job.

Sugar can also make sauce less acidic. Getty Images

As for the sweeter secret ingredient — either brown or white sugar — that comes at the end of the line.

“That secret pinch of sugar is one of the last steps I take before letting the sauce simmer away on the stovetop to thicken up,” recommends Camille Berry of Taste of Home.

She said it’s key for an “overall more balanced sauce.”