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Old 12-22-2008, 12:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jeekinz View Post
The one and only difference would be the quality of ingredients you use. If you want the best sauce (or any dish for that matter) you need the best ingredients...IMHO.
Ditto on this... (and yes restruant sauces are often just some burnt tomato puree with a shake of italian seasoning... nasty. )

To the OP: follow jeekins advice here...
especially on a Marinara which should be a quick fresh meatless sauce... (the real flavor booster here is probably minced anchovy which everybody is afraid to add) On this the quality of your tomatoes and freshness of your herbs will really make the dish shine. This should not cook for long your ingredients should remain distinct. Marinara is great for a light first course or side to a meat dish.

If your a stating to talk about wine, meat and tomato paste you are making more of a Ragu Neapolitano (or in the Bronx "Gravy") this is your long simmering meaty sauce here your are looking for deep flavor and richness. Here I would start with sweating aromatic vegetables for your base, then brown your meats (sausage metaballs ribs, chops braciole whateve), deglaze with the wine& stock then add your tomato products and additional spices and simmer simmer simmer all day long. Here you want your flavors to blend more like a stew. If you are going for that "Spaghetti & Meatballs" taste this is what you want.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Marinara was originally a seafood sauce but has evolved of the years in the US to be a meatless tomato sauce. So marinara is a type of 'spaghetti' sauce.
No, marinara was NOT originally a "seafood" sauce. It was discovered on ships making the long journey across the Atlantic as tomatoes stored well and making a "sauce" out of them could be done in 15 minutes, the time it took for the sailors to boil the water and cook the pasta, the marinara was also ready.

Marinara shouldn't be cooked any more than 15 minutes, as it is meant to be a quick sauce, and not just for pasta. It may be used on veggies and other meats/poultry or IN other dishes. There is no meat whatsoever in a marinara, nor is there a plethora of veggies in it. A "true" marinara is made by heating EV olive oil, saute garlic and onion in it, add your tomatoes -- diced, chopped, whole, whatever -- season with salt and pepper and basil and simmer for 15 minutes. That's it.

It's a SIMPLE sauce that we Italians make and use often and a sauce that others have complicated!
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:15 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by QUEEN-GUINEVERE View Post
A "true" marinara is made by EV olive oil, saute garlic and onion, add your tomatoes -- diced, chopped, whole, whatever -- season with salt and pepper and basil and simmer for 15 minutes. That's it. It's a SIMPLE sauce that we Italians make and use often and a sauce that others have complicated!
That's how I make mine, but sometimes I'll put a dash of white wine in and reduce just before I add the tomatoes. For the tomatoes I use whole peeled SanMarzano and chop them up in the pan using the back of a wooden spoon as a cutting board of sorts. lol

I used to make 200 ingredient sauces, but never looked back after I made my first marinara. I like that you can taste every ingredient and the brightness of the tomatoes.
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:26 PM   #14
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For the tomatoes I use whole peeled SanMarzano and chop them up in the pan using the back of a wooden spoon as a cutting board of sorts.
Oh, Jeekinz, the San Marz's are the best! and they make the best sauce!

Quote:

I like that you can taste every ingredient and the brightness of the tomatoes.
Good choice of words, Jenk's!!!

And that is what you want with a "good" marinara sauce...you want to taste that "brightness" of those tomatoes! Once again, it's a SIMPLE sauce, packed with true tomato flavor!
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Old 12-22-2008, 03:30 PM   #15
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It is a matter of personal taste and as others have said, adjust the flavourings to suit yourself.
You have the basic ingredients for your sauce, simmer together for a long time to bring those flavours together and then adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Try adding the different herbs one at a time to see the effect they have on your palate. Don't forget to use some salt to pull out flavours. It will require you experimenting with different flavours and making many sauces, refining each time till you get to where you want to be.

Don't forget to write down what you have done each time with your comments so you are ready to move on next time.

My "secret", I often add a little ginger or paprika, but then I like a little kick to my food.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:34 PM   #16
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I really want to try the anchovy as Panch recommended. I have some paste at home I might try. I also never used milk in my ragus before, I'd like to try that too.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:49 PM   #17
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I really want to try the anchovy as Panch recommended. I have some paste at home I might try. I also never used milk in my ragus before, I'd like to try that too.
I have never used em myself... not because I am squeamish about little fish but because the 'chovies are not an ingredient I ever think to stock up on. I do believe that they are the key secret ingredient to marinara though... keep meaning to try em out as well.

Milk in ragu eh? Never heard of that one.

Pasta sauce does come down to personal like/dislike. The really nice thing about Marinaras and Ragus is that there are no hard fast rules they are open to invention. People tend to like what they know... I rarely order red-sauce dishes out for this reason... nothing compares to Mom's I dont even like my own as much.

There are alot of other great "spaghetti sauces" as well... puttanesca, filleto di pomodoro, arrabiata... all depends on what you are going for.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:06 PM   #18
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I really want to try the anchovy as Panch recommended. I have some paste at home I might try. I also never used milk in my ragus before, I'd like to try that too.
I believe, Jeekinz, that braising the meat in milk makes it a Bolognese. That, at least, is how my Bolognese differs from other ragu/meat sauces.
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:14 PM   #19
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Two Men, Two Italys, Two Ragouts - New York Times

here is a cool article on ragu from the NYT.... about the difference between bolognese and napolitano.... being from southern italian descent the napolitano is closer to our traditiona but bolognese is great too.... so little tomato was really surprising to me at first. Ragu is like Chili for Italian food... so many variations and prefernces and delightful ways to make it. There is no orthodox... this stuff comes from heart and feel. It's my "soul food"
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:05 PM   #20
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Actually, I've only had one restaurant red sauce that put me off, & that was one that started adding cinnamon, of all things, to their sauce. Now granted, I have seen some supposedly "authentic" sauce recipes that call for a dash of cinnamon, but I'm one of those folks who abhors "baking spices" (cinnamon, ground cloves, etc., etc.) in savory dishes.

It really annoyed me because the restaurant was quite good & our local "go to" place, & after they changed the sauce recipe I could no longer order pasta or pasta as a side dish.
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