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Old 12-02-2008, 05:12 PM   #31
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And to add, this is why Kitchenelf was trying to sway me to another method. She knew what would happen :^)
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:15 PM   #32
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I don't use paste in my red sauce. It's not real thick but I wouldn't describe it as thin either.
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:49 AM   #33
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it all depends on the tomatoes, or how watery they are.
i've made thick sauces from fresh, garden tomatoes as well as canned tomatoes. but in some years, the garden tomatoes were more watery, so the sauce had to cook longer, and needed the paste.
as far as canned goes: some come in a thicker puree, some in almost a tomato juice. you guessed it - the juice takes longer to cook down.

i use paste just as a way to adjust thickness, towards the end of cooking.

pacanis, see if you can find the cento brand san marzanos that jeeks and i had mentioned.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:08 PM   #34
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Anyone ever use an immersion blender to thicken and smooth out their sauce? I use it after the SM whole tomatos have been cooking for a while where the sauce turns a bit orange. I guess in this case time was limited. Try it out next time if you have one....it works like a charm.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:27 PM   #35
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Good idea, Dom. Maybe I could have made my own paste of sorts using the stick blender or food processor out of some canned whole tomatoes. I wouldn't have wanted to use it directly in the sauce or I would have lost my chunky ingredients, as in emulsified them.
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Old 12-05-2008, 04:53 PM   #36
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That's true, all your good stuff would have been emulsified.

So anyone care to share a recipe for their Sunday sauce. I like mine thick and made with veal and lamb bones or shanks.

Using my large Le Creuset dutch oven pot......
A bit of olive oli, not EVVO because of the high heat and brown the heck out of my meat.
push them to the side and carmalize my onions, carrots and celery and add a dollip of anchiove paste for extra flavour, S&P and a few chili flakes
splash of white wine to reduce
a few bay leaves
add San Marzano whole tomatoes and cook on high for 20 minutes
after simmer for hours if I have the time
pulled out them meat bones and shanks, along with bay leaves
blend it all together with the immersion hand blender right in the pot
add the meat back in and simmer some more.

Anyone want to add or give some advice?
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #37
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dom, what kind of meat do you use?

i'm a huge fan of pork in my sunday gravy. pork rib ends, pork brasciole, and sweet italian style pork sausage with extra fennel seed.

but, i also like some beef in the pot, so if there's already pork in the gravy, i make all beef meatballs. if no pork in the pot, then i make the meatballs from 70/30 ground beef to ground pork - with a jumbo egg/lb of meat, a cup or so of grated parm, a little less than 2 cups of seasoned breadcrumbs, a cup or so of dried parsley, and a half cup of milk.
more or less. i do it by feel and have never measured anything. if right, the meat should just stick to the bowl and your fingers without being too gooey.

i used to make everything in one pot, but now i brown everything in a ss deep sautee, then transfer them into a stock pot. i feel like i get better control of the browning processes that way, and i deglaze the sautee with some tomato juice or puree (from a can), or red wine after each browned item, adding the liquid to the stock pot as well. fresh tomatoes are peeled and seeded, then chopped and put in. canned tomatoes are crushed by hand as they go in. a few bay leaves, some oregano, and some parsley, too.

as far as veggies go, i ALWAYS start with roughly diced onion and sliced garlic. both browned a little.
the rest of the veggies are variable, from whatever i have on hand or growing in the garden. often it's carrots, bell peppers, fennel (bulb), zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and mushrooms. the carrots, peppers, and fennel are sauteed in oo first before being added to the pot.
the squash, zukes, eggplant, and mushrooms are added during the last half hour of cooking so they don't turn to mush.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:30 AM   #38
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I pulled out a stock pot last night for my red gravy. I looked at it sitting on the stove and swapped it out for my 5.5 qt saute pan. I like a large cooking surface for sauteing the meat and veggies, too. I finished the sauce in it as well.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:13 AM   #39
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a 5 1/2 quart deep sautee is perfect for a one or two meal sauce, pacanis.

the wider and more shallow volume will also help the sauce thicken more quickly. i like to use mine for the quicker red sauces, like shrimp and scallop in a fresh tomato basil sauce, or clam sauces, or even the chicken cacciatore that i made last week.

tall, thin stock pots aren't always the best way to go, really. the width needs to be more equal to the height for longer cooking sauces.
the one i use is a kinda squat 8 quart ss pot given to me by my mom. it's around 60 years old now.
i think i'll ask santa for a really nice, big le crueset pot this year.



and then i'll probably go back to using my mom's pot. eventually, lol.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:11 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
dom, what kind of meat do you use?
I normally use veal osso bucco and lamb shanks with almost all the fat trimmed off. I try to use meat parts that have less fat and more bones than meat on them and try to get the meat taste in my sauce more than having the sauce consist of meat...if that makes any sense. I use to use pork sausage and other pork pieces but found that the sauce was getting to heavy and greasy from the fat in the sausage. I also use to make mini meat balls using veal and pork ground meat but making 15-25 meat balls took a long time. Now if I make meatballs, I make a few big ones.
I made a huge pot of sauce just yesterday and made home made gnocchi to go with the fresh sauce. Well the gnocchi is a bit of a cheat. I bought a box from Williams Sonoma where all you need to do is add water and knead the dough a few times before you make your ropes and cut the peices. It was really good and super easy to make.
Ah.....Fresh pasta and fresh sauce on a Sunday is just so comforting. Reminds me when I was a child and my mother would cook this up starting at 6am in the morning so we could have it by 1pm.

My uncle, who is from Itay, uses very interesting meats in his sauce.
He's told me that his best sauce ever was made with rooster meat and bones. I've tried his sauce and loved it. It was light, bright and very flavorful. His second favourite meat to use is lambs head. I dare anyone to try that out, and take pics too.
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