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Old 05-26-2014, 11:26 PM   #1
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ISO the Best Tomato Sauce

Let's talk about tomato sauce.

I have some on the stove right now! Here's what i put in it:

Sauteed garlic and mushrooms, followed by six spicy/hot sausages cut into 3rds which were then seared before adding crushed tomatoes. A little salt and pepper, basil and oregano (unfortunately the herbs were not fresh, i only had dried) And a small handful of Parmesan cheese. I had baked some chicken earlier in the day and saved the drippings so, screw it, in the pot it goes. Popped on the lid and lowered to a simmer. Now i plan on letting it sit for quite a while, at least until the sausage is cooked through. I find the longer you cook a sauce the better the end result but is it possible I'll over-cook the meat?

Anyway, now that ive explained the recipie that will begin making me millions of dollars let's get to the real reason i created this thread... I want to pick the brains of all you brilliant bolognese chefs out there. All you secret sauce samaritans, all you pasta pro's with something to prove.

I need to know, what makes a good tomato sauce a good tomato sauce.
What ingredients are your favorites and which are taboo?
What techniques are sacred in your sauce-making?
What are some crazy sauces you guys and gals have free-styled?
Is it fair to dip Mozzarella sticks in marinara while your spaghetti is bone dry?!
Ive heard of people putting vinegar in their sauce. Is this cool?

Simply put, I wanna know your deepest darkest tomato sauce secrets! Let the compendium begin!

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Old 05-26-2014, 11:58 PM   #2
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I'll start by sharing some of the things iv'e learned over the years. I'm only 25 but as a kid i was lucky enough to take some classes at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) These were only introductory classes but the magesty of that place has left me with a great passion for food. Here's some of the stuff they taught me:

Using the flat side if your knife to crush garlic is an excellent way to quickly remove the skin. Speaking of garlic, if you don't saute it first and still have a good sauce when its done, I want to shake your hand.

Wait for the water to come to a rolling boil before adding your pasta. This helps prevent it from over-boiling and spilling over. Something to do with the starch i can't remember, but it works! Also laying a wooden spoon over the pot helps with this to. Science!

Butter can add a lot of flavor to a tomato sauce. But if your sauces already have a lot of fat in em like mine usually do (from the oil, meat, etc) Then Heavy cream or even whole milk can taste pretty good. Thickens up the sauce too.

This one is pretty obvious but Pasta is done when its al dente. Its spaghetti not ramen people.

I swear i can remember my grandmother throwing in a whole chunk of Parmesan cheese into her sauce. If you don't have grated, Don't sweat it.

In my opinion, the longer a sauce simmers the better its going to taste, especially when there's some kind of meat in there. Oh. Em. Gee.

I can't really think of anything else right now. Will post again if something comes to mind. :)
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Old 05-27-2014, 12:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post
Let's talk about tomato sauce.

I have some on the stove right now! Here's what i put in it:

Sauteed garlic and mushrooms, followed by six spicy/hot sausages cut into 3rds which were then seared before adding crushed tomatoes. A little salt and pepper, basil and oregano (unfortunately the herbs were not fresh, i only had dried) And a small handful of Parmesan cheese. I had baked some chicken earlier in the day and saved the drippings so, screw it, in the pot it goes. Popped on the lid and lowered to a simmer. Now i plan on letting it sit for quite a while, at least until the sausage is cooked through. I find the longer you cook a sauce the better the end result but is it possible I'll over-cook the meat?

Anyway, now that ive explained the recipie that will begin making me millions of dollars let's get to the real reason i created this thread... I want to pick the brains of all you brilliant bolognese folks out there. All you secret sauce samaritans, all you pasta pro's with something to prove.

I need to know, what makes a good tomato sauce a good tomato sauce.
What ingredients are your favorites and which are taboo?
What techniques are sacred in your sauce-making?
What are some crazy sauces you guys and gals have free-styled?
Is it fair to dip Mozzarella sticks in marinara while your spaghetti is bone dry?!
Ive heard of people putting vinegar in their sauce. Is this cool?

Simply put, I wanna know your deepest darkest tomato sauce secrets! Let the compendium begin!
To start with tomato sauce is the basic sauce. I doubt I have anything to prove to anyone. At my age, I just cook for myself and all desserts go to my kids. Nothing special about my sauce. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood and watched many a Noni stirring her sauce. Even on a hot summer's day.
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:05 AM   #4
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I feel the opposite about long cooking a tomato sauce. The longer a tomato cooks in sauce, the less tomato flavor it retains. It loses its bright fruity flavor and turns darker, murkier. I don't put meat in a tomato sauce ever, though. Twenty to thirty minutes is the longest it goes for me.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by no mayonnaise View Post
I feel the opposite about long cooking a tomato sauce. The longer a tomato cooks in sauce, the less tomato flavor it retains. It loses its bright fruity flavor and turns darker, murkier. I don't put meat in a tomato sauce ever, though. Twenty to thirty minutes is the longest it goes for me.
I am with you NM. Even Lydia makes quick sauces. Tomato and others. I think long cooking destroys any flavoring of the seasonings.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quick sauces/long simmering sauces are just two different types. One isn't better than the other, they are different.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:19 AM   #7
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First thanks for this thread because I've learned a LOT just reading the posts.

I'll tell on myself and confess I seldom make from-scratch tomato sauce because my wife and I still work full-time and are gone for as much as 11-12 hours a day. Since I'm already 68 years old, salt content is critical. Some of the popular brands of tomato sauce contain up to 30% sodium(!!)

I prefer Kroger's Simple Truth brand organic tomato sauce as a base because it only contains 13% sodium. At least we don't bloat up like dead toads on a hot day after consuming this product.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by chiklitmanfan View Post
First thanks for this thread because I've learned a LOT just reading the posts.

I'll tell on myself and confess I seldom make from-scratch tomato sauce because my wife and I still work full-time and are gone for as much as 11-12 hours a day. Since I'm already 68 years old, salt content is critical. Some of the popular brands of tomato sauce contain up to 30% sodium(!!)

I prefer Kroger's Simple Truth brand organic tomato sauce as a base because it only contains 13% sodium. At least we don't bloat up like dead toads on a hot day after consuming this product.
Sometimes we tend to look down our noses at ready made, off the shelf items. But when you are employed in a job that takes you away from home for hours each day, they are so much a time saver. You do have to become an avid label reader as you get older. That old bugaboo salt is in all the food we buy except fresh from the produce department. Condiments, snacks, even cheeses all have salt in them.

Dead toads, huh? Good one. Got a laugh out of me.
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post
I need to know, what makes a good tomato sauce a good tomato sauce.
What ingredients are your favorites and which are taboo?
What techniques are sacred in your sauce-making?
What are some crazy sauces you guys and gals have free-styled?
Is it fair to dip Mozzarella sticks in marinara while your spaghetti is bone dry?!
Ive heard of people putting vinegar in their sauce. Is this cool?
1) A little labor goes a long way in making a good sauce. I take the time to saute my onions, garlic, and bay leaf, then add fresh herbs, tomato paste and some wine to deglaze the pan.
I then add canned crushed or whole squeezed tomato along with enough water to make the right consistency.
I simmer this about one hour. Cool and reserve into smaller containers and freeze for future use.

2) Ingredients in marinara sauce are simple. Olive oil, onion, garlic, bay leaf and assorted herbs. Taboo? I would never add ice cream.

3) Techniques? Take your time and use all the ingredients listed above. More if you like. I like to keep marinara simple, so its begging for additions later on.
Freestyle? Cooking in flip flops? Everything I cook is freestyle. I rarely use a recipe unless I am baking something.

4) Dipping sauce and pasta sauce may look and even be the same thing. But I never over kill a nice pasta with too much sauce on it. I like pasta and want to taste the pasta too. So, I do not use more sauce than is absolutely necessary over the pasta.
My daughters put to much on their plate as they think more is better. All I see is the wasted sauce in the bottoms of their plates when they are finished.

5) Vinegar? Never used it in sauce and probably never will. Unless of coarse I am missing something here.

Lastly. I make a mother sauce. A marinara sauce I can use for many other dishes. I make a gallon at a time. Then from there I can make meat sauces or just add some to some linguine and top with Pecorino and I am happy.
The exception is when I make a big pot of meatballs, sausage or pork in sauce. Like for a Sunday dinner.
Welcome to the forum!!
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post

Using the flat side if your knife to crush garlic is an excellent way to quickly remove the skin. Speaking of garlic, if you don't saute it first and still have a good sauce when its done, I want to shake your hand.
I have been known to add raw garlic and get a great sauce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post
Wait for the water to come to a rolling boil before adding your pasta. This helps prevent it from over-boiling and spilling over. Something to do with the starch i can't remember, but it works! Also laying a wooden spoon over the pot helps with this to. Science!
The science actually says turn the heat down some. You are putting more energy into a system than it can handle. You push past equilibrium and the system is trying to return. Turn the heat down a notch. You won't make it take longer to cook. You will save clean up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post
Butter can add a lot of flavor to a tomato sauce. But if your sauces already have a lot of fat in em like mine usually do (from the oil, meat, etc) Then Heavy cream or even whole milk can taste pretty good. Thickens up the sauce too.
If you are looking for that sort of sauce. My tomato sauce tends to be... tomato.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candied_Flipper View Post
I swear i can remember my grandmother throwing in a whole chunk of Parmesan cheese into her sauce. If you don't have grated, Don't sweat it.
The rind is good for this. Or anchovy.
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ISO the Best Tomato Sauce [B]Let's talk about tomato sauce.[/B] I have some on the stove right now! Here's what i put in it: Sauteed garlic and mushrooms, followed by six spicy/hot sausages cut into 3rds which were then seared before adding crushed tomatoes. A little salt and pepper, basil and oregano (unfortunately the herbs were not fresh, i only had dried) And a small handful of Parmesan cheese. I had baked some chicken earlier in the day and saved the drippings so, screw it, in the pot it goes. Popped on the lid and lowered to a simmer. Now i plan on letting it sit for quite a while, at least until the sausage is cooked through. I find the longer you cook a sauce the better the end result but is it possible I'll over-cook the meat? Anyway, now that ive explained the recipie that will begin making me millions of dollars let's get to the real reason i created this thread... I want to pick the brains of all you brilliant bolognese chefs out there. All you secret sauce samaritans, all you pasta pro's with something to prove. [B]I need to know[/B], what makes a good tomato sauce a good tomato sauce. What ingredients are your favorites and which are taboo? What techniques are sacred in your sauce-making? What are some crazy sauces you guys and gals have free-styled? Is it fair to dip Mozzarella sticks in marinara while your spaghetti is bone dry?! Ive heard of people putting vinegar in their sauce. Is this cool? Simply put, I wanna know your deepest darkest tomato sauce secrets! Let the compendium begin! 3 stars 1 reviews
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