Giardiniera Is The Briny Ingredient Your Tomato Sauce Needs

Two jars of giardiniera with veggies
Two jars of giardiniera with veggies - Alleko/Getty Images

When you make a classic basic tomato sauce, developing a complex flavor profile is essential to a satisfying result. A recipe with few ingredients can often benefit from a little something extra to jazz it up and make it stand out. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to upgrade basic tomato sauce, from starting with as high-quality ingredients as possible to adding unexpected ingredients to boost the flavor.

Enter giardiniera, your next secret tomato sauce ingredient. This pickled relish mix with Italian roots contains a medley of various vegetables, and its briny, sour, and sometimes hot flavor packs an enormous punch when served alongside other dishes or added to sandwiches, condiments, and, yes, tomato sauces. Whether you mix in the pickled veggies straight from the jar or choose to finely chop the pieces first, the potent, tangy taste of this jarred Italian garnish will add salty acidity that can jolt your next plate of pasta to another level.

Read more: 15 Tips For Making The Best Meatloaf

What Is Giardiniera?

Jars of giardiniera with a chili pepper in front
Jars of giardiniera with a chili pepper in front - Likedat/Getty Images

Beyond being a jar of pickled vegetables that makes nearly every dish it touches absolutely delicious, giardiniera is available in Italian or Chicago varieties. The Italian version was originally a method for preserving produce through the winter and consists of large pieces of vinegar-pickled vegetables that are traditionally served on antipasto platters. Chicago-style giardiniera, usually a rough-chopped mix of bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, olives, and chile peppers, is pickled in vinegar and then stored in olive oil.

The Chicago style of giardiniera is particularly popular as a condiment topping for the city's famous Italian beef sandwiches, Italian subs, and even its iconic deep-dish pizza. At a lot of places that sell Italian beef sandwiches, the term "hot" is used for giardiniera. Most retail brands are available in mild and hot versions, with the hot varieties containing more chile peppers. Since either works well in a tomato sauce, use the type of giardiniera that provides your preferred level of kick.

What Giardiniera Adds To Tomato Sauce

Chunky tomato sauce in sauce pot
Chunky tomato sauce in sauce pot - Fortyforks/Getty Images

A cup of drained hot or mild giardiniera, chopped (if desired) and mixed into homemade or premade tomato sauce, adds a complex combination of tart, vinegary, salty, and vegetable-y flavor that's hard to replicate with any single ingredient. Although tomatoes can be fairly acidic, adding something tart such as vinegar to a tomato-based sauce is a fairly common way to not just contribute a pop of flavor, but also enhance other flavors already in the dish. The vegetables in giardiniera also can add an undeniable freshness and texture, providing a crisp bite that breaks up the smoothness of the tomato sauce.

Whether you buy a jar of giardiniera or make your own, the crunchy, tangy relish can add a satisfying dimension to pasta sauce, sandwiches, pizza, antipasto, and a variety of tomato-based dishes. As well as adding giardiniera to tomato sauce, try including it the next time you make eggs in purgatory or even tomato soup.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.