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Old 01-07-2008, 09:07 AM   #21
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Everyone has their own recipe.

The first time I made tomato sauce it had about 40 ingredients herbs and spices. Now, I have simplified it to five, and it gives the best flavor. I'll change the tomato product for different recipes.

1 28oz can of tomato sauce or minced/crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 spanish onion minced
1/3 cup chopped basil
evoo, salt & pepper, water

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, 2 minuted later add the garlic. Stir to keep from browning. After about a minute add the tomatoes, stir, then add the basil. If the sauce looks thick enough to be ready add 1/2 cup of water. You'll need it to be a tad liquidy at first so the tomato has time to cook, otherwise the sauce may get too thick and burn. Cook covered for 30 minutes adding salt and black pepper to taste. Do not cook more than 45-50 minutes. 10 miutes of cooking uncovered will produce a thicker sauce or you can thin it out with water or red wine.

From this base, you can make a million different sauces. I also sub the minced tomatoes with whole peeled (rough chopped) for braises. This is the sauce I used on my ravioli. I just added about 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream.
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:40 PM   #22
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A little trick I learned from watching Heston Blumenthal. If you're going to make a Bolognaise, carmelize some onions with cracked star anise. Somehow they combine to make a natural meat flavor enhancer, something like MSG without the side effects.

I tried it with some extract in place of the real star anise, and it did have a mild improvement, but I plan to try the real thing soon.
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:42 PM   #23
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This forum haas had many threads about pasta sauces. Try using the search feature and put in something like "spaghetti sauce", or Bolognaise Sauce, or pasta sauce. There are also a host of threads that will give you recipes fro Alfredo sauce, or Bechemel (one of the mother sauces). If you go to the part of the site that is divided into topics, and go to the "sauce" topic, you will get more recipes, and ideas than you can use. Read through them. There is a wealth of information for you, everything from picking the perfect sauce for a specific meal, to using the right tempratures, time, and cooking vessels.

What you have read in this thread is just a small sampling of what DC has to offer. Do a bit of research, and gain some real knowledge. As was said above, everyone has their own favorite way to make a sauce. And everyone's taste is different. What might constitue a perfect sauce for me, might be terrible for you. Or, you just might find that you love it.

To answer your questions about carrot and celery, the celery adds a bit of saltiness, while the carrot adds a sweet flavor. Both of these help ballance the acidity of the tomato. If you are getting a bitter flavor in your sauce, you are cooking over too high a heat, and are scorching the natural sugars in the tomato.

If you accidentally scorch your sauce, you can change the scorched flavor to a smokey flavor by adding a bit of real maple syrup. Of course this depends on how badly burned the sauce is.

One other thing when making any sauce, add flavors sparingly. You can always add more herbs and spices if there aren't enough, but once they're in, you can't take them out. And, when adding the ingredients, let them simmer together for at least 15 minutes, so that the herbs, spices, and veggies can give up their flavor to the sauce. Tasting earlier will not give you a true test and you can easily over use an ingredient. Oh, and onion, when cooked, is very sweet. Garlic shouldn't be a main flavor componant either. But it should enhance and compliment the other flavors.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:25 PM   #24
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suziquzie,
Note: Carrots have a high % of sugar, they help balance tomatoe acidity.
Have you tried olives with your sauce? I really like their flavor.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:45 PM   #25
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I know that it is contrary to popular wisdom, but I have never found any benefit to slow cooking tomato sauces.

My standard tomato sauce goes something like this:
  • Cook ground meat, adding chopped onion and garlic about half way through.
  • Puree canned tomatoes and cook over medium heat under reduced to desired consistency.
  • Add chopped green peppers to the tomatoes about 3-5 minutes before the they are done.
  • Add spices and meat mixture about 1-2 minutes before serving.
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Old 01-10-2008, 01:11 PM   #26
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Herbs and spices added a few minutes before serving don't have time to release their volatile oils into the sauce. They should be added at least 15 minutes before serving time. Also, the flavors, when new in the sauce, are brighter, more powerful. The sauce will therefore be bolder than a sauce that has been simmered for hours. Some people like this, others don't.

The problem I have with cooking a sauce for hours is that it takes a long time and ties you up while its cooking. You also run the risk of scorching your sauce as the sugars can burn on the pan bottom.

I like to make my suace, let it cook for about 30 minutes with the flavorings and veggies added, then refrigerate overnight. This creates a sauce with mor depth, and with more subtle flavors. It's not better than a younger sauce, but is different. Many people like their tomato-based pasta sauces better on the next day.

During the "resting" period, the various flavors get a chance to distribute themselves equally throughout the sauce.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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