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Old 04-05-2011, 05:54 PM   #1
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My marinara sauce recipe - please criticize!

I didn't use any of the online recipes, and I follow a couple of rules given by Alton Brown:

1. use canned tomato or garden tomato
2. tomato has flavors soluable in water, oil and alcohol

So my recipe goes like this:

28 ounce of canned crushed tomato
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 small onion, chopped
3 tbls olive oil
1 once of capers
1 cup white wine
salt and black pepper
pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp each of dry oregano and dry basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 bay leaf

heat oil in sauce plan and sweat the onion with a little salt. then add the garlic and brown them, while adding the parsley
turn heat on high and pour in 1/3 of the tomato to fry it for 30 seconds
turn heat back on low, pour in the rest of the tomato, wine, dry herbs, cloves, pepper and capers, then let cook for about 20 minutes

The problem with this sauce is that it tastes too much like wine, there's this pungent, zesty taste that I don't really like. But it can also be from the capers. Should I reduce the wine and omit the capers? I use cheap 3 dollar white wine from the store (not cooking wine)

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Old 04-05-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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I would say way too much wine. Capers can over power a dish and make it taste vinegary. If you have to use them, I would recomend giving them a very good rinse in cold water or even let them soak in cold water for a few minutes.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Use a moderate but good flavored wine, and reduce your recipe quantity to 1/4 cup... taste and then adjust if you feel you need to add more. It's easy to add but impossible to take away.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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I would say way too much wine. Capers can over power a dish and make it taste vinegary. If you have to use them, I would recomend giving them a very good rinse in cold water or even let them soak in cold water for a few minutes.
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Use a moderate but good flavored wine, and reduce your recipe quantity to 1/4 cup... taste and then adjust if you feel you need to add more. It's easy to add but impossible to take away.
Thanks! I did use too much wine... didn't know the strength of capers. actually last night I even poured in some caper juice... so dumb!
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:10 PM   #5
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In addition to the wine suggestions, I'd skip both the capers and the cloves. Also, I may be too heavy handed but I'd also go with more oregano and basil.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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In addition to the wine suggestions, I'd skip both the capers and the cloves. Also, I may be too heavy handed but I'd also go with more oregano and basil.
actually the reason I added the cloves is because I think it brings up the sweetness a little without adding sugar. I can taste just a little bit of it so it's not overpowering and unnoticeable, and I wanted to give my sauce some character from others... but it might be a bad one lol :p
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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I use cloves in stewed tomato recipes but I have not seen it in a sauce. If you want to bring out the sweetness without sugar experiment with a little baking soda. It works with many fruits and vegatables.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:24 PM   #8
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I use cloves in stewed tomato recipes but I have not seen it in a sauce. If you want to bring out the sweetness without sugar experiment with a little baking soda. It works with many fruits and vegatables.
that's interesting :) why can baking soda bring out sweetness? by reducing the acidity?
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:26 PM   #9
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As many have said, lose the capers and cloves. I prefer to deglaze with red wine for marinara. I also like to use San Marzano tomatos, that are actually canned in Italy from that region.

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Old 04-05-2011, 06:40 PM   #10
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Thanks! I did use too much wine... didn't know the strength of capers. actually last night I even poured in some caper juice... so dumb!
The good thing about that mistake is that you only make it once.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:41 PM   #11
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To boost the sweetness, sauté some tomato paste with the onion and garlic until it's brown, then deglaze with the wine and add the tomato, etc. The caramelized tomato paste will add sweetness.

If you choose to use baking soda to neutralize some of the acid in the tomatoes (they don't always need it), use the tiniest amount. For a 28 Oz can start with a bare pinch and stir it in. It may foam up a bit, don't be alarmed.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:48 PM   #12
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Yes, the sugar cuts the acid. This was used during sugar rationing and appears in many recipes from that time.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
To boost the sweetness, sauté some tomato paste with the onion and garlic until it's brown, then deglaze with the wine and add the tomato, etc. The caramelized tomato paste will add sweetness.

If you choose to use baking soda to neutralize some of the acid in the tomatoes (they don't always need it), use the tiniest amount. For a 28 Oz can start with a bare pinch and stir it in. It may foam up a bit, don't be alarmed.
I use carrots to try and sweeten the sauce. You just never know the acidity of the canned tomatoes until you taste them. As Andy says, browning the tomato paste and deglazing with wine will often be enough sweetness.

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Old 04-05-2011, 07:11 PM   #14
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Thanks guys for all the info!
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:25 PM   #15
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Use red wine and cut it to 1/2 cup

I'd also omit both the capers and cloves. Carrot in very small quantity will give you sweetness.

I'm totally with Andy on the tomato paste.

Add dry herbs at the beginning of cooking; fresh herbs at the end. I'd add the parsley later.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:33 PM   #16
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Use red wine and cut it to 1/2 cup

I'd also omit both the capers and cloves. Carrot in very small quantity will give you sweetness.

I'm totally with Andy on the tomato paste.

Add dry herbs at the beginning of cooking; fresh herbs at the end. I'd add the parsley later.
That's true.. I forgot about this rule!
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:56 PM   #17
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yep agreeing with pretty much everything already stated, way to much wine, lose the capers, add a small pinch of baking soda (I use it more because it helps maintain color but yeah it does help with the sweetness)
I also bring about a 2 teaspoons sugar to mine and your herbs seem a little on the lite side..but i'm pretty heavy handed with those.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
Use red wine and cut it to 1/2 cup

I'd also omit both the capers and cloves. Carrot in very small quantity will give you sweetness.

I'm totally with Andy on the tomato paste.

Add dry herbs at the beginning of cooking; fresh herbs at the end. I'd add the parsley later.
+1
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:06 PM   #19
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I didn't hear anyone mention celery. Am I the only one? I always use equal parts of chopped celery and onion in mine, lots of chopped fresh garlic too. I go heavy on the dried basil, a little dried oregano, some good red wine (not too much), and some dried Porchini mushrooms. I don't think I'd like capers or cloves in mine. I've never had a problem with bitterness, I wonder if it's because of the celery?
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:11 PM   #20
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I didn't hear anyone mention celery. Am I the only one? I always use equal parts of chopped celery and onion in mine, lots of chopped fresh garlic too. I go heavy on the dried basil, a little dried oregano, some good red wine (not too much), and some dried Porchini mushrooms. I don't think I'd like capers or cloves in mine. I've never had a problem with bitterness, I wonder if it's because of the celery?
my problem with celery is texture. celery takes a long time to cook soft so I generally avoid it in sauces that are supposed to be less chunky
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My marinara sauce recipe - please criticize! I didn't use any of the online recipes, and I follow a couple of rules given by Alton Brown: 1. use canned tomato or garden tomato 2. tomato has flavors soluable in water, oil and alcohol So my recipe goes like this: 28 ounce of canned crushed tomato 2 cloves of garlic, grated 1 small onion, chopped 3 tbls olive oil 1 once of capers 1 cup white wine salt and black pepper pinch of ground cloves 1 tsp each of dry oregano and dry basil 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley 1 bay leaf heat oil in sauce plan and sweat the onion with a little salt. then add the garlic and brown them, while adding the parsley turn heat on high and pour in 1/3 of the tomato to fry it for 30 seconds turn heat back on low, pour in the rest of the tomato, wine, dry herbs, cloves, pepper and capers, then let cook for about 20 minutes The problem with this sauce is that it tastes too much like wine, there's this pungent, zesty taste that I don't really like. But it can also be from the capers. Should I reduce the wine and omit the capers? I use cheap 3 dollar white wine from the store (not cooking wine) 3 stars 1 reviews
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