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Old 11-24-2008, 07:51 PM   #1
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Need some red sauce help

I just went to "mise en place" tonight's dinner by moving the cans of tomato products from the cupboard to the counter . Anyway, I'm making spaghetti sauce and don't have tomato paste. (I can't believe this). I read a couple pressure cooker recipes, have made this once before, and they all use a can of tomato paste. I have crushed, diced, whole peeled, sauce and puree, but no paste.
Any suggestions? Do you think I need the paste to thicken the sauce? Maybe use a can each of crushed and whole, skipping the puree I was going to use and it will be thick? Add a thickener like masa, flour or something? I'm thinking the way a PC cooks, by not letting the moisture leave, I might need something.....

What do you think?

Of course, I don't need twenty minute spaghetti sauce tonight, but I was kinda looking forward to it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:54 PM   #2
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Don't loose any sleep over it.

Just make the sauce without it. Reduction will give you the thickness.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:57 PM   #3
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I HATE when that happens!!! I would squish the whole tomatoes and then drain as much juice off of them as possible. This will just make it chunkier but not necessarily thicker. Chunky is ok as the next best thing.

Would you be willing to change up your recipe? I.E.l, squished whole tomatoes, fresh garlic, fresh basil if you have it, olive oil, and that's about it except for some salt and pepper. Cook until a lot of the moisture is gone and then toss with angel hair. It's not a spaghetti sauce per se, more a chunky marinara. I usually drain the juice from the whole tomatoes and then use what juice squishes out of the tomatoes. This sauce is supposed to be a drier sauce. A couple kalamata olives at the end gives it a nice salty flavor - then top with some shaved parm.
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:06 PM   #4
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Jeeks, that's kinda the point, do things "reduce" in a pressure cooker? That's where my quandry lies, sleepless night or not (lol). I know I could go stovetop and reduce the sauce.

Chunky is fine kitchelf, but I didn't want to change my method entirely. Are you saying to add the whole peeled tomatoes smashed up, but withhold the sauce in the can they come in?
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Are you saying to add the whole peeled tomatoes smashed up, but withhold the sauce in the can they come in?
Yes. That sauce is pretty runny. You can certainly freeze it and use it in a soup though.

Why don't you pressure cook it then remove the lid, see what it looks like, and reduce it with no lid if necessary? Bring it to a boil and leave it but be careful of burning.
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:14 PM   #6
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Thanks, I'll give that a try.
I guess it would help to know what tomato paste actually was. Reduced tomatoes, concentrated tomatoes, what makes paste a thickener....
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:16 PM   #7
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What? No pictures yet???????? What's up with that?
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:29 PM   #8
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It was runny. Good, but runny.
I guess I did need that paste.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
It was runny. Good, but runny.
I guess I did need that paste.
Yea, that's why I was hoping you'd be willing to switch up the recipe a bit. Paste is the only thing that will thicken it like you wanted. You by chance didn't have any ricotta cheese did you? I bet that would have thickened it and couldn't have been bad either!
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:09 AM   #10
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could've thickened after opening the pc with arrowroot or cornstarch...arrowroot would be better for a marinara.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:31 AM   #11
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I bet it was still good............:)
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:24 AM   #12
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Yes, it was good, at least the chunky part was, loaded with mushrooms, onions and green peppers, but there was a runny layer that was preventing the sauce from sticking to anything, especially rigatoni. I'll pick up a can of tomato paste today and simmer it in.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:09 AM   #13
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Don't use any kind of thickener!!!!! Just cook it a bit longer. I use paste only about half the time, with almost indiscernable results.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:14 AM   #14
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Thanks, Vera. At this stage that would work, too. I wasn't thinking...
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:19 AM   #15
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Another thing I've used to thicken up sauces and stews is ground dehydrated tomatoes. After dehydrating them, put them in the food processor and process until they are a powder. Store the powder in the freezer.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:55 AM   #16
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That's a pretty cool idea, blissful. I'll bet even if you chopped them up they would pull moisture from the sauce as they rehydrate.
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:12 AM   #17
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The usual way to thicken tomato sauce is through reduction. Using a pressure cooker prevents that from happening. Tomato paste may thicken some but also changes the flavor.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
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That's a pretty cool idea, blissful. I'll bet even if you chopped them up they would pull moisture from the sauce as they rehydrate.
Yes they would.
See now - I DO have one cool idea, I KNEW it would happen once in my lifetime.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:47 AM   #19
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Take the rest of the day off!
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:00 PM   #20
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great idea, bliss. i've tried that with dried mushrooms, with mixed results. i'll have to try dehydrated tomatoes. i wonder if well chopped sun-dried tomatoes would work...hmmm.

i agree with andy; paste will change the flavor a little. it depends on the ratio of how much you're adding to how much sauce, though. paste tends to be sweet, which usually isn't a problem.

reducing by a slow simmer, regularly stirring to prevent burning and aid in evaporation is the way to go. but as gadzooks mentioned, if you're in a pinch, you can use cornstarch or arrowroot slurry. it was suggested to me by the chef at a local italian restaurant, when i asked him about his sauce. he uses fresh tomatoes in a lot of his sauces. when i'd mentioned that my garden tomatoes one year made a runny sauce that takes forever to cook down, he clued me in about using a thickening agent. worst comes to worst, he even suggested using a little flour, but a little goes a long way, so be prudent about it.
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