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Old 11-15-2006, 09:11 PM   #1
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Question help watery tomato sauce

We serve monthly luncheons at our day program. Pasta is the most popular, however, sometimes the tomato sauce separates when being served. The one thing I am certain of is that the pasta is well drained. We usually start with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, peppers,oregano, and ground beef ands season as needed. We take turns cooking and each person has a different way to season so we DO get a variety of results. Most are good except for the the puzzler. Why is our sauce sometimes watery when served, and what do we do to fix the problem?

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Old 11-15-2006, 10:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvspring
We serve monthly luncheons at our day program. Pasta is the most popular, however, sometimes the tomato sauce separates when being served. The one thing I am certain of is that the pasta is well drained. We usually start with canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onion, peppers,oregano, and ground beef ands season as needed. We take turns cooking and each person has a different way to season so we DO get a variety of results. Most are good except for the the puzzler. Why is our sauce sometimes watery when served, and what do we do to fix the
problem?
I'd guess you need to cook it down a bit longer and maybe add some more tomato sauce and paste.
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:16 AM   #3
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Make sure you drain your canned tomatos. Or, if you don't drain them, just make sure to reduce your sauce thoroughly. Your second option would be to add more tomato paste.
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
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agree with above. Also if you are adding vegetables such as mushrooms and peppers, saute first as they contain much water.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:09 AM   #5
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It's called "weeping". You need to reduce the sauce further. Also, if you leave large pieces of vegetables in the sauce (including tomatoes) they will continue to breakdown and release their moisture as well. To get around retained water and such, I use crushed tomatoes. Either buy them already crushed, or run them through a food mill. Don't blend though, as this aerates the sauce and suspends fibers which creates an orange colored gritty sauce.

A quick fix that is temporary for service within an hour or so is to make a slurry with Corn Starch or Arrowroot. To me this is cheating though, and it doesn't hold forever. Remove some of the water from the tomato sauce (make sure it's cool) and blend a good amount of cornstarch into it (in a real pickle you could just use some cool tap water). Allow the sauce to return to a good simmer (bordering on boiling). Add slurry in increments until it thickens up. This is really an emergency fix though, and not something I'd plan on doing ahead of time.
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