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Old 11-11-2004, 09:48 PM   #1
 
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Tomato Sauce Base

Good Evening, All!

With a "generous" employer giving me the day off, where the rest of Ontario "works", I thought after today's services, I'd try making a different pasta sauce...

Since we cannot access the "San-Marzano" Italian tomato's, and since the locally grown Roma's seem to draw fire, I bought a jar of "Promodoro" Tomato's, pureed, with simple salt, oregano and basil as "additives", none of which, I thought, would compromise the tomato in question...

I used "EVOO" to blanche a small onion, and a couple tablespoons of chopped garlic, (the tomato sauce added here) added roughly two stalks of finely chopped celery, half a sweet red pepper, diced; finely sliced cremini mushrooms, a quick dash of cayenne (but not, in retrospect, very much)...

Heat this to a low "boil", while stirring, then turn off heat, using the solid ceramic burners of electric stove to maintain some heat, periodically stirring...

After a couple hours, return to very low heat...

Thirty minutes before pasta is ready, increase heat to bring to a "burble" rather than a "boil"...when the 3 minute noodles go in, remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl...it looks properly "thickened"...

On consumption, a very disappointing result, not any "distinguished" taste of tomato at all, very "loose" sauce texture...

Notes to "self", if doing this again, add canned tomato paste to get better texture, and more acidity...never consider adding crumbled meat or meat balls to this sauce, it would be awful...this tomato sauce is more suited to a use in "other cooking" such as a compliment to cabbage rolls, as it has a "sweetness" and "thinness" that may go well in that direction...it may be possible to "rescue" the formula without tomato paste if the sauce is significantly and steadily "reduced" to a much thicker consistency, but this will mean a long period of standing over a slow cooking mass, stirring steadily, and evaporating the water out...

Many "commercial" canned spaghetti sauces with the same add-ons would be much better to my taste...

Lifter

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Old 11-11-2004, 09:58 PM   #2
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Lifter, the celery, peppers, and even the onion will add 'sweetness' to your sauce - try this one, it's a simple marinara given to me by a great chef -

1 can of the best plum tomatoes you can find - try Muir GLen if you have them
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
About 10 basil leaves, chifonnaded
salt/pepper
Olive oil

In a skillet (NOT saucepan), heat about 3T olive oil over medium heat; add the garlic, cook for just a minute or so; off heat, add the wine, increase heat to medium high, and reduce the wine to a tablespoon or so; add the canned tomatoes, and crush them up with a spoon; add half the basil chiffonade; leave heat on medium high, let the sauce simmer til it thickens - usually only 10-15 mintues. Add the rest of the basil, salt/pepper to taste.

That's it! Simple, pure tomato taste, not too sweet.
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Old 11-11-2004, 11:52 PM   #3
 
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Uh-Huh...

That would be the idea, wouldn't it, that you'd add other things for "crunch" factor, as well as something to sweeten the acid...and my question was on tomato types available in Canada outside of Roma's (noting you don't name any, you have obviously misunderstood the purpose of the post, SIGH!)

and while I've done it on occaision, I somehow doubt that the re-rendering of a bit of wine is really doing much in such a recipe, but how we do go on...

Nor do I see a big benefit between a skillet or a saucepan as you describe...

Lifter
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Old 11-12-2004, 06:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifter
Uh-Huh...

That would be the idea, wouldn't it, that you'd add other things for "crunch" factor, as well as something to sweeten the acid...and my question was on tomato types available in Canada outside of Roma's (noting you don't name any, you have obviously misunderstood the purpose of the post, SIGH!)

and while I've done it on occaision, I somehow doubt that the re-rendering of a bit of wine is really doing much in such a recipe, but how we do go on.
Nor do I see a big benefit between a skillet or a saucepan as you describe...

Lifter


-------Sorry if I misunderstood the purpose of the post; didn't see any direct question relating to tomato types available in Canada. I thought you were just rambling on about a sauce you'd 'created'. I did name one brand that I have found exceptional. Since I don't live in Canada, I have no idea what you have available, and I guess you'll just have to experiment on your own with what you have.

The sauce made this way is but one type of marinara - sure you can add whatever you want for 'crunch' factor but it's going to change the basics of the sauce. The sauce made as above needs nothing to sweeten the acid.

--------------------As far as the wine reduction goes, scores of recipes reduce a little wine down for the flavor. It's very traditional.

---------'Sigh' back at ya - using a skillet, with a wider surface, will reduce a sauce much quicker and more efficiently than a deep saucepan.
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Old 11-12-2004, 06:24 AM   #5
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Sorry - the gremlins posted a double post!
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Old 11-12-2004, 12:31 PM   #6
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Lifer,

Pomodoro is not a "type" of tomato -- pomodoro means "tomato" in italian. Sounds like a brand to me.

Which is the first thing I'd suggest: use a better quality canned tomato. Marmalady mentioned a specific brand, Muir Glen, which is a very high quality product. It's widely available in the US -- but am not sure in Canada. San Marzano tomatoes from Italy (don't buy the ones grown in the uS) are available over the internet and in Italian markets in larger cities in Canada. I'd also suggest not using puree, but rather whole tomatoes that you smash with a woodne spoon as it cooks.

Carrots and sugar both cut acidity in sauce.

Tomato paste would be a good addition for body, flavor and some sweetness. It does not add acidity.

When you say "boil," I assume you mean simmer. Never actually boil the sauce. You should not turn off the burner, but rather simmer your sauce continually. You can even put it in the oven at 250, rather than make it on the stove. maintaining constant low heat is impt. ou do not need to stand over the sauce stirring it constantly. It can cook on it's own with pretty minimal attention.

Also, wine added to any tomato sauce makes a big difference -- it adds a depth of flavor since alcohol releases non-water soluable flavor components in tomatoes (and other foods).

Some herbs like oregano and basil might be a good idea, too.
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:11 PM   #7
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If you have a 'Whole Foods' Store in your area, do check out the Muir Glen tomatoes.
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Old 11-13-2004, 07:49 PM   #8
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A good tomato sauce is very simple so don't worry :)

There are some steps you should observe.

1) As stated above you can add some wine to it and it will make a big difference to flavour. My recommendation is to use a sweet wine.

2) Add a little sugar because it will neutralise the acid in the tomatos.

3) make sure your onions are cooked quite well, they contain a lot of natural sugar and will add their flavour and sweetness.

4) it's simple. Your problem is you did not cook it long enough. Simmer it slow and uncovered, stir it often and use plenty of olive oil in your sauce.

COOK COOK COOK and keep tasting it. When it's done enough, you will know its ready. it will no longer taste of canned tomato and it will taste of "sauce" and it will also be very thick.

Hope that helps you :)

PS: Never use tomato paste. There is no need. They don't use that in Italy and nor should you.
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