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Old 02-20-2006, 06:10 AM   #11
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I have seen grape jelly mentioned a couple of times - but only in connection with someone looking for a "substitute" for wine.

IF the sauce is going to simmer for 30-minutes to several hours and does not contain milk or cream to finish it - I balance the acidity with onion, carrot and celery in about a 6:2:1 ratio - basically 1/3 the amount of carrot as onion, and the celery is 1/4 - 1/2 the amount of carrot - but that ratio isn't set in stone. The onion gets diced - the carrot and celery go for a spin in the food processor until fine minced (by hand I grate them and then chop fine with a knife).

If I am using meat in my sauce - the meat gets browned and removed. If not, hot pan and Extra Virgin Olive oil is added - toss in the onions with a sprinkle of salt for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrots and celery. When they are nicely tender but not browned - in goes the minced garlic for a couple of minutes ... then some tomato paste - for 2-3 more minutes ... then dry red wine - first addition of herbs - when it comes to a boil then in goes the tomatoes, etc. ....

Depending on how acidic the tomatoes are - some dark brown sugar - somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/4 - 1-1/2 US teaspoons per quart of sauce. When we had this discussion before someone suggested brown sugar and I thought she was nuts .... and then I broke out Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking and got to looking at the flavor components of tomatoes and brown sugar ... many of them were the same! So, I tried it - and it works great.

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Old 02-20-2006, 06:57 AM   #12
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Usually add celery, onions, sweet bell pepper. If need be I add a tsp of brown sugar.

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Old 02-20-2006, 12:35 PM   #13
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I'm with Andy -- a few spoonfulls of tomato paste will add the sugar lots of folk have recommended, thicken the sauce, and not make the sauce sugary sweet, just tomato-y sweet. I'm one of those "never the same twice" cooks, but this is always a good hint for tomato sauces (be it Italian for pasta or chili) if the tomatoes are too acidic or you've messed up and overpoured the wine. I also like to use "tomatoes in tomato puree" rather than just canned tomatoes. I had a bumper crop of tomatoes last summer, though, and a little tomato paste goes a long way. When you only need a spoon or two, the rest freezes quite well if you take it out of the can and put into a baggie.
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Old 02-20-2006, 12:41 PM   #14
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Baking soda will neutralize the acid since it is a base. Add a small amount and taste until you get the taste right.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:22 AM   #15
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I am under the impression that sugar doesn't actually neutralize the acid, but rather balances it on the palate, making you taste it less. Yellow tomatoes sometimes contain the same amount of acid as red ones, but have higher sugar levels, making them taste less acidic.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:48 AM   #16
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i like using brown sugar in mine
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Old 02-25-2006, 03:56 PM   #17
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I always add sugar and I never use tomato paste or tomatoes that have the seeds or skins, that is what causes the acidity. Good luck.
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Old 03-17-2006, 12:23 PM   #18
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add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.I just saw this in a cooking magazine can't remember which one ..
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Old 03-22-2006, 04:08 PM   #19
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this is informative

i use brown sugar too, i have used baking soda

never heard of grape jelly and i usually don't havewhite wine on hand

and i never connected tomato paste to acidity but tats802 is right
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Old 03-26-2006, 05:56 PM   #20
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I have done many of these things too, I prefer to use sweet onions and sweet bells, but on occasion I have used brown sugar that I have caramelized in a saucepan by wetting it with either white wine or balsamic vinegar or both, as balsamic takes on distinctive sweet attributes when used this way.
It's sort of the same thing you do when making a Bananas Foster just without the rum and bananas.

I suppose that I like my sause a little sweet sometimes.

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