While there are a variety of store-bought pasta sauces to choose from, nothing beats a homemade recipe.

Whatever recipe, here are a few tried-and true methods to stick to:

Pay attention to details.
Be patient, and take the extra time to follow exact instructions. For instance, if your recipe tells you to dice an onion to a certain size, be meticulous about it. The small details are critical to producing a delicious pasta sauce.

Deglaze your pan.
Especially when you’re adding veggies or meat, it’s helpful to stir in a little stock or wine before adding the sauce to release any pesky bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. This process is called deglazing, and it helps incorporate all of the flavors into your sauce that would otherwise be burnt onto the surface.

Let it simmer.
If you have extra time, try letting your sauce simmer for a while. Just 20 extra minutes can help to concentrate the flavors and thicken the sauce.

Grab your greens.
Get your extra veggie dose for the day by sneaking some greens into your pasta sauce. Some great options include a handful of spinach, chopped kale, or basil strips. Add a few minutes before the sauce is done for a healthier, heartier sauce.

Have it prepped and ready for action.
Make sure that your sauce is readily accessible next to the water. This makes it easy to add the sauce to the pasta as soon as it’s ready, so that it soaks up all of that tasty flavor.

Don’t rush the cooking time.
Although pasta sauce can be cooked relatively quickly, it’s important to be patient. Certain ingredients can also benefit from a little more cooking time. For instance, giving onions 15 minutes to cook before adding tomatoes will ensure that the veggies are extra soft.

Mix properly.
Heat the sauce and pasta coat simultaneously, but in separate pans. Aim for about 2 tablespoons of pasta water per serving, and adjust as needed. Finish it off by simmering the pasta in sauce.

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