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Old 12-22-2008, 12:21 AM   #1
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Question Secret to the Perfect Marinara/Spaghetti Sauce?

Topic pretty much says it all. I have found so many different recipes at so many different places where people are giving it a rating of 5 stars and i really haven't found one recipe that just jumps out at me. Pretty much all of them start out with a base of oil / Onions &/Or Garlic. A lot of recipes will call for EVO but i never use it because i don't think you can tell a difference once you cook it. I usually just use veg oil.

Then they add a different combination of tomatoes. Hand Crushed can tomatoes/Crushed Tomatoes/Diced Tomatoes/ect.

Here are optional ingredients that some recipes add: Tomato Paste, Wine, sugar.

The of course they add slightly different ratios of dry/fresh hebs.

Course then you have have your meats if you want to add them. Everything from meatball to short ribs.

Then come your veggies: Carrots, MushRooms, and celery to name a few.

There isn't that much difference in most of the recipes and i have not found a sauce recipe that is that great. I mean all are ok but just nothing spectacular. With that being said i don't know what the "official" difference is between a sauce and a marinara so i put both in my title.

Anyone have some secrets to create a stellar sauce?

thanks,
Ncage

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Old 12-22-2008, 12:43 AM   #2
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When you make your sauce/marinara it's all a matter of personal taste..I love evoo and feel it lends itself to a good sauce..I also use dried porcini mushrooma that I rehydrate saving the broth to add ever so slowly to my sauce/gravy.I use browned stew meat to get that meaty taste and to help thicken my sauce.I have a brand of tomatoes I use that are so tasty and sweet they can be eaten from the can...But back to my gravy/sauce I also saute fine chopped onions, and garlic adding marjoram and then rosemary,thyme, basil,oregano go easy on the oregano..lots of fresh parsley choped my sauce starts in the morning and simmers all day I add beef broth and the mushroom broth and my gravy/sauce is a rich brown not red as many restaurants are..the mushrooms are put into the f/p along with some of the meat from the browning and start of the sauce and made into a mix that thickens my sauce and helps it cling to the ravioli or pasta.. This has been done for years my m-i-l taught me and we all love and enjoy making it.Like I said it's all a matter of time spent and what tastes like heaven when you eat it..I feel, use the best and you can't go wrong..If you use something sub standard you will have soemehing you can manage to eat, but you won't rave about it
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:27 AM   #3
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My sauce varies depending on if it is the summer and im using fresh tomatoes or the winter and using canned. If I want it chunky or smooth. With or without veggies....

But the only consistent recommendation I would have is let it simmer for a long time. Sure there are a few sauces I can knock out in 15 minutes if Im really hungry, but i find the best tasting sauces have been simmering for 1 hour +.

On the other hand, I have never been able to recreate my favorite sauces from the restaurants Ive eaten at, so I know what you mean. I too, am also searching for a consistently great pasta sauce, but due to my spontaneous cooking methods, It will always differ each time I make it.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:22 AM   #4
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NCage, have you ever tasted the perfect sauce? What was different about it?

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.

You found so many sauce recipes because the perfect sauce is different for everyone. As mentioned, it's a personal taste thing. Your perfect sauce may be awful to my tastes.

So no one can tell you the perfect sauce recipe, it is only in you.
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:20 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, as others have said, this is truly an impossible question to answer because everyone's idea of "perfection" is going to be based on personal preference. You could get a hundred people to post their favorite recipes, try every single one, & STILL not like any of them.

As for me, I tailor my tomato sauces based on what I'm using them for, as well as simply what I'm in the mood for. Even with my own sauces, there's still no one "perfect".
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Old 12-22-2008, 10:02 AM   #7
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Perfection is in the eye (taste) of the beholder and I found that near perfection is reached by making and tasting it yourself. You can never find perfection in food with your eyes. It must be experienced first hand.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:11 AM   #8
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Oregano is the secret.
I know this is true because of an Andy Griffith Show episode.
Andy somehow accepted 5 dinner invites.. everyone served spaghetti
and everyone told Andy what their secret ingredient was:
Oregano.

So there ya go.

Personally, my secret ingredient is -gasp- a package of Thick and Zesty Sauce Mix.
I add and saute and chop and such, but I gotta have a package of mix.
It adds a flavor note that, to me, says MOM. And since she is gone, I like little reminders
of Mom.....
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
Oregano is the secret.
I know this is true because of an Andy Griffith Show episode.
Andy somehow accepted 5 dinner invites.. everyone served spaghetti
and everyone told Andy what their secret ingredient was:
Oregano.

So there ya go.

Personally, my secret ingredient is -gasp- a package of Thick and Zesty Sauce Mix.
I add and saute and chop and such, but I gotta have a package of mix.
It adds a flavor note that, to me, says MOM. And since she is gone, I like little reminders
of Mom.....
Amen to that..our sauce/gravy is my DH's mothers.I had her come here and we worked it out her handfuls were bigger than mine so into a measuring cup they went..Now I can make the sauce by heart, but my girls have a recipe to follow til they know it by heart..That packet of mix brings you home and makes you feel warm and happy..Keep it up
kadesma
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:30 AM   #10
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There are very bad sauces though, no matter how you cut it. Usually I can't stand restaurant sauces, even if they're advertised as "homemade".
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