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Food & Recipes

Are Coffee Grounds the Secret to Perfect Pasta Sauce?


Plenty of food pairings sound downright nuts until you finally give them a go (if you haven’t tried peanut butter and bacon, you must!). So when the Internet went bonkers because a British supermarket, Sainsbury’s, suggested customers add instant coffee to their spaghetti Bolognese, we decided we had to test it out.

Coffee lovers generally swear by their favorite type for everything from brewing to baking, and I personally rely on grounds. But the recipe called for instant. I suspected bold, brewed coffee would deepen the dish’s flavor, so I tried it with both types of java.

I made a veggie version of the traditionally meaty sauce, and the instant coffee didn’t do much, other than maybe making it all a tad richer than it would have been without. But the batch made with stove top-brewed coffee had a touch of bitter flavor that let the sweetness of the carrot and onion shine. (I brew coffee close to espresso strength, and I added ¼ cup to my recipe.) Call me bonkers, but I’d be willing to make coffee a staple of spaghetti nights in my house–as long as it’s brewed.

Use this recipe to try it for yourself, and check out Sainsbury’s original video below.

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