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Old 01-30-2009, 07:20 AM   #21
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Thanks for everyone. I'm going to try this hopefully tomorrow or Sunday if DH doesn't distract me :)
All suggestions are good so I'll go through them to come up with my "trial" method.
Is there any trick to not burning the garlic? Just keep it moving while I'm sauteeing?
I especially appreciate the tips on alcohol. I really like the taste of many alcoholic beverages (especially beer, wine, & dark colored liquors like bourbon) so cooking is a good way of enjoying it without getting tipsy (although we all know what is eventually going to happen to the leftover wine!). However, the information about how alcohol helps release the flavors in the tomatoes is excellent science to know.
I've come to the conclusion cooking is one big chemistry experiment (which is good because I liked chemistry)!
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:47 AM   #22
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My thoughts... double the amount of olive oil as the fat helps marry and carry the flavors. Also double if not triple the dried oregano. A half tsp is too little to really flavor the sauce. And do taste before adding sugar, as others have said. Also a little trick for canned whole tomatoes. Open the lid and cut them up in the can with kitchen shears. Another thing I sometimes do is add a tablespoon or so of good Parmesan cheese to the sauce. It adds another nice dimension to it. Please let us know how yours turns out!
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:57 PM   #23
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Thanks, Laurie, especially in reference to the oregano, I LOVE oregano (I think it's the Italian in me)!
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:54 AM   #24
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I made the sauce this weekend...I had used a whole white onion and 8 oz of fresh mushrooms so I used a whole can of tomatoes (28 oz vs. 14.5 oz) since it seemed like a lot of onions. I used the sweet basil and 4 small/medium cloves of garlic. I tried infusing the basil at the beginning and put some end at the end although I suspect I put the basil in too early (I simmered for a lot longer than 20 minutes - I had simmered covered, was I supposed to simmer uncovered?) I had also tried some wine.
I was a bit disappointed - it wasn't bad - I will try it again - but it was missing something that made it marinara. I had added sugar (I had used tomato sauce not paste) - I wonder if I added too much and it supressed the flavor I get in restaurant marinana.
I will try it again - I will definitely add more garlic and perhaps some rosemary, too.
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:12 AM   #25
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Could you post the recipe with amounts used? I suspect that you used too much onion and mushrooms for the amount of tomato sauce used. Did you chop up the garlic? You probably also should have simmered it uncovered. Tell us what you did exactly and we might be able to help you perfect the recipe.
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:04 AM   #26
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Chunky Marinara Sauce

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped (I used a large white onion - I didn't quite use the whole thing, but with the ones I use it was close to a cup of chopped onion)
8 oz chopped portabella mushrooms (fresh)
4 small clove garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
White sugar
1.5 tsps dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt (possibly more)
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp Black pepper
1 lb grilled Turkey sausage
Sweet basil (2 sprigs)

I grilled & chopped the sausage ahead of time. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Infuse with about a sprig sweet basil (chopped) then use a slotted spoon to remove. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 2 to 4 minutes until onions are translucent and some of the liquid is cooked out, stirring frequently (I probably cooked closer to 5-6). Add garlic when onion is almost done. Mix in whole tomatoes (break up once they are in the pan), tomato sauce, wine (about 3/4 cup), bay leaves, oregano and salt. I threw in some extra oregano since I put in the whole can of tomatoes instead of just half. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer. I simmered covered and after a half hour it was barely reduced so I figured uncover was the way I wassupposed to do it. I also checked for taste and added a lot of sugar (a few teaspoons) because the tomato taste was pretty pronounced, pretty acidic - I suspect it was supposed to be and I should have left it. I added turkey sausage and sweet basil near the end but I still had about 15 min of simmer after that so I should have waited.

Thanks, Laury!
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:52 PM   #27
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I would suggest browning whatever meat you are using in the pan and deglazing so that you have the fond to flavor the sauce. Also, after browning, cooking the meat in the sauce helps deepen the flavor.

I would also suggest adding tomato paste. It's not interchangeble with tomato sauce.

Paste gives you concentrated flavor and sweetness.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:19 PM   #28
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Thanks, I will try that.
The tomato paste suggestion sounds good - my sauce did seem to be a bit watery.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:20 PM   #29
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What did you feel was missing? Too watery? Not enough flavor? Couldn't taste the basil? Too sweet? Not enough salt? Maybe we can help you better if you can explain what disappointed you and what you liked about other marinara sauces you liked.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #30
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It was a bit watery - Jennyema's suggestion to use paste instead of sauce should help with that.
In general, not enough flavor. I couldn't taste the basil very well, but I likely added too early (it's only supposed to be heated with the sauce about 5 mins, correct)? It was not too sweet. I'm big on salt so I likely could add more salt (and pepper, too).
Is it possible that I overcooked the tomatoes and they lost their flavor?
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