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Spaghetti sauce

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi

A friend said that the spaghetti sauce I made has a strong smell and taste of tomatoes. I followed a recipe from a cook book and the recipe uses Italian herbs in a combination of two parts of tomato puree to one part of tomato paste. Isn't spaghetti sauce supposed to have a strong smell and taste of tomatoes ?

Thanks
yuesang
post #2 of 27
You didn't say how much liquid (water, wine) was added to the toms or how long they were cooked, or if there was meat. All will mellow and mend the flavors together. Usually a little olive oil is used and the paste is sauteed in the oil for a minute. It's an important step, and does change the taste, mellowing the paste.

Your friend maybe used to meat sauces, the flavor of the meat does add tremendously to the sauce.
post #3 of 27
Here comes the smart alec from Rome. Spaghetti sauce should taste fresh and light. Tomato paste is ONLY used here when there is no other tomato available, only in stuff like stews (NOT for pasta sauce) and only ever in maximum one tablespoon dose (you buy it in a tube, like toothpaste!). It is not fit to eat as is. Never. It gives a horrible taste.
Also, herbs should be used sparingly. Some sauces use herbs, like rosemary and thyme and sage and origano, but you would want to select them yourself, not just a mix of them, and only in a specific kind of sauce (agli aromi di bosco - woodsy flavored). The only herb generally used in sauce is parsley and basil, and both are best added fresh after the sauce is MIXED with the pasta (never leave it just poured in the center, always mix immediately)

try this
sautee a chopped onion and a couple of garlic cloves, squashed, in some olive oil, over low heat till the onion is soft and transparent. Add a can of whole plum tomatoes,. Cook. salt and pepper to taste. You should cook so it just bubbles about 20 min to half an hour. Squash after a bit with a potato masher or fork to break down the tomatoes. stir occasionally not to let it burn, and keep covered so it doesn;t get too thick. Cook pasta al dente, drain immediately, put back in the pot, add a handful of real parmigiano grated, then mix in the sauce immediately. Serve at once.
Most sauces here don;t use meat. Yes, i know ragu bolognese, but most everyday sauces are meatless. At least what i;ve ever eaten here is.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 27

Spaghetti sauce

Hey, Siduri, I totally agree with your approach to spaghetti sauce, especially the part about avoiding tomato paste. You'll be horrified to learn that many Americans (mostly in areas without Italians, obviously) use canned tomato paste and tomato puree with WAY too much dried oregano, lots of ground beef, then add SUGAR (I know, it's awful), and call this abomination spaghetti sauce.:eek: And they top this with mounds of so-called parmesan from Wisconsin that bears little resemblance to Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And if you think that's bad, we have a product line called "Chef Boyardee", that's basically watered-down ketchup with beef and overcooked pasta. It could possibly kill you.:eek:
post #5 of 27
How about Mastriciano sauce? I thought I'd read that is a favorite in southern Italy?

doc
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

Spaghetti sauce

Hi
NowIamOne, I simmer sauce for about 45 minutes and using 2 cans of pureee and one can of past with 2 cans of water. I do not add any meat until I actually cook the meal.

Does that means that the spaghetti sauce should not have a strong tomato smell ?

As for the suggestions from Siduri, fresh tomatoes are very cheap over here and maybe I will use this instead of canned tomatoes.

Thanks for all your replies and certainly help improve my cooking.

yuesang:bounce:
post #7 of 27
Hi deltadoc,
Do you mean amatriciana sauce - sometimes called matriciana? Or is it another sauce? Anyway, that's one of many sauces, and yes, many sauces do have meat, ragu bolognese (not ragu napolitano) and amatriciana (bacon, onion, tomato) and abbruzzese sauce with lamb, and sauce with wild boar, etc. These are special occasion sauces on the whole. In the rome area you'd make a meat sauce for sunday's fettucine. Traditionally some salt pork was chopped with the onion, though most don't do that any more. Amatriciana has bacon, but you ask for one finger's width of bacon for a whole sauce. So even there, it's not much.
Most people's sauces are tomato and onion or garlic, even on sunday.

I'm actually american, moved here 30 years ago. I remember a roommate making sauce back in boston. He took two large cans of tomato paste, added a POUND of meat and then boiled it all - that's a LOT of meat and the paste, yuck! pretty hard to recognize that as tomato sauce. He was a very nice guy and we all smiled and ate it, but it wasn;t good.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 27
Here's another one:
Saute a medium chopped onion, chopped stalk of celery, and a shredded carrot in a generous amount of olive oil. Add in a big can (32 oz) of diced or whole tomatoes, some salt, and red and black pepper to your liking. Simmer for 2-3 hours.

This makes a nice tomato sauce that's good for pasta, lasagne, whatever. I usually make a big batch and then freeze a couple small containers for later use.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 

Spaghetti sauce

ERicT
Thanks
That looks like quite an easy recipe to follow. I suppose like everyone else said, time must be given to simmer to mellow the sauce. Maybe this is what I am misiing out now.

yuesang:bounce:
post #10 of 27

Spaghetti sauce

A agree that canned and/or tubed tomato paste should be avoided at all cost.

Usually the fresher and lighter the sauce the better and so Siduri's advice for spaghetti sauce is right on.

In Tuscany, the ragu can be made with boar meat or hare, this is usually served in the winter though. And of course in Bologna, there is the traditional meat ragu with 1/3 ground beef, veal and/or pork. Everyone has their own recipe.

In the summer, a fresh light tomato sauce is very, very common, often with sweet cherry tomatoes and a bit of basil. Simmering for an hour is overkill, fresh sauces can be make in 20 minutes.
post #11 of 27
There is a tomato "sauce" called pomodoro passatta or something like that. Is it suitable?
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post #12 of 27
That is just fine, pomodoro passatta are tomatoes that have been peeled, sometimes seeded and run through a food mill.
post #13 of 27
Yes it's easy. This makes a fairly hearty sauce. But as mentioned by others, you can make a quicker, lighter sauce as well.

Another version I like to make is a marinara-type sauce. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook 5-6 crushed cloves of garlic for a minute or two. Then add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. This one only needs to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add in some fresh basil for the last few minutes of cooking.
post #14 of 27
I make Spaghetti sauce using tomatoes I grow in my garden. Most of the tomatoes are sauce tomatoes such as Roma type. But still the sauce is generally to watery. Other than peeling and dicing the tomatoes should I do something to try and reduce the water content?

Thanks

FoodiePam
post #15 of 27
YOu could try cutting them in half, then lightly squeezing out the seeds and watery part around them.
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post #16 of 27
Mezzaluna has you almost half way there.


Peel the tomatoes, remove seeds , dice and place inside a collander, china cap or chinois. Place this in a bowl to collect the juice overnight. Then process the tomatoes by grinding, pureeing or just throwing into the pot. Add no water. Instead gradually introduce the drained juice from the tomatoes until you acheive the thickness of a caned product. This will require a certauin amount of patience mand simmering. Then just cook the sauce to your taste. ie garlic, basil, olive oil, onions whatever. This process basically gives you tomato sauce. Ity's your job now to turn it into Marinara.:D
post #17 of 27
Thanks oldschool1982! This will make my sauce (and ketchup) much better...

Foodie Pam
post #18 of 27
I find this discussion interesting, and it pops up time and time again. If you go to www.encyclopizza.com this guy goes into great detail for commercial establishments on all aspects of pizza including the tomato product for the sauce. His arguments seem very scientifically accurate to me, and his claim, to which I also tend to agree, is that one just cannot duplicate the taste and texture of commercially harvested, prepared, and canned product which goes from field to can in less than two hours, in the home.

One reason being that they can reduce the tomato product at lower temperatures than boiling at atmospheric pressure in the home. Lower temperatures equate to less nutrient loss and loss of fresh taste than boiling fresh tomato juice in the home.

I use canned puree and sometimes canned paste all the time, and I really like the resultant sauces I get from using them. WHile the wife processes fresh Roma's every summer straight from the Farmer's market, I've never been able to reduce them and capture the fresh taste they have if I leave them as juice. She blanches them for 2-3 minutes and puts them through this food mill that seperates the skins/seeds from the pulp. From there they go into sterile jars and into the pressure canner.

doc
post #19 of 27
Doc,

Not that I take your post as a direct response to the canned comparison I made....I don't. But in the interest of a what I was trying to offer FoodiePam....Was really trying to provide a referance that could be easily understood. "Commercially Canned" foods are something we have all used and have a common understanding of their texture and consistancy.

I personally never try to recreate or copy anything produced commercially when I cook. The food and recipes I develope can be compared to things in name but are strictly the result of my own experiences.

As a Chef I always believed it didn't look good for you to be constantly trying to copy other foods exactly. There would be nothing that you could call unique or yours.

Using tomato paste as a base or "thickening agent" in Marinara is uniquely an American concept. As a couple have already pointed out paste is not or rarely used in Italian kitchens. Personally I find the use of paste as a last ditch effort or short cut. Paste is bitter and adding sugar is also not a desireable choice. Antoinette Pope used to suggest carrots, celery and onion as a medium to reduce bitterness and there is always the use of chopped Italian parsley added at the end of the cooking process.

Meat or more specifically the amount of it in a recipe, is also an American concept. Back when Immigrants were arriving here they wanted to be "Model Americans" and in many cases dropped many things that were customary. The Government would say that the use of meat was the greatest thing and the immigrants obliged them by making meat a major part of the cooking process. That is why meat sauce is thick with ground meat. They were just trying to be "good Americans".

My sauce has been produced from canned product, fresh product and a mixture of the two. Although when I use canned product it is never "Tomato Sauce" and I don't even consider paste. I always used diced and ground tomatoes in varying ratios. I guess it all depends on the availability of products since we don't have a garden in our yard anylonger. Yet when we did it paled in comparision to my Grandparents. Theirs was 85% of the yard. Plus tomatoes in winter (yuck) shouldn't exist so if I am preparing something after Fall it will be a canned product. This for the last couple years has also been 100% organic in nature.

Tomato sauce, Marinara, or more simply put "what my Grandmother brought with her from Calabria" is something that was a multi day effort and taken from Garden to jar or table. Because of this, red sauce was traditionally served during the growing season, special events or canned after the garden harvest and used throughout the year. My father would talk of how sick he would become of spaghetti served with Milk, romano and egg. Simply because red sauce was not frequently used. By the time us "Grandkids" came along, my grandmother became more "Americanized" and began to use commercially canned tomato products more often. Age and family tastes were just too hard to argue with.

Everyone needs to remember that Tomatoes have only been widely used in Italian or any cooking for that matter for around 300 not 200. (Ooops bad hands:blush: ). From the nightshade family, these plants would be grown as ornamental plants since the fruit was thought to be poison.

The one thing that is missed here is that Marinara recipes are as many as the houshold they were produced in. Every Italian has/had a different way that makes/made it uniquely theirs. It's all based on what you grew up on. There is absolutely not one single "standard" other than they contain tomatoes.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

Spaghetti sauce

EricT
I have tried the method you suggested and definitely the sauce is lighter, less overpowering of the tomato. I suppose this method is good for making sauce for immediate consumption s the time required to simmer is much shorter but I am not sure if this sauce can stand the length of time if I keep it in the chiller. Anyway, will try that out. Thanks for the suggestions
Yuesang:lips:
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 

Spaghetti sauce

I have been using fresh ripe tomatoes lately and it is quite easy to get rid of the skin and seeds, really and I suppose the fastest method is to put the tomatoes in hot water, then remove the skins and remove the seeds. I am also wondering if the texture can be any better if we prepare the sauce like couli, using a muslim bag for the herbs instead of having them mixed in the tomato sauce.
Yuesang:roll:
post #22 of 27
I agree! To each his own! :)

doc
post #23 of 27
A nice thread--reading all of the sauce suggestions.

Year's ago I recall watching my friend's mother (Italian) create a magnificent sauce. Interestingly, she would create a puree of raw onion, carrot, celery and garlic with a bit of water in a blender and add that mixture to a large pot of tomatos (crushed I recall were her favorites). I usually saute my mirepoix first but have replicated this sauce from time to time and it's a very nice-tasting sauce too!

Has anyone else heard of adding this "raw" mirepoix mixture into the tomatoes?
post #24 of 27
Virginia foodie,
my mother (italian american) used to do it - an invention of her own to avoid chopping- blending the mirepoix vegetables with water. I never liked it that way though. I like either to chop and sautee first, or to boil all the ingredients (usually when i have good summer tomatoes available) (carrot, celery onion and garlic cut roughly in chunks) till the carrot is soft, andthen blend. drain the pasta, immediately mix with parmigiano till it melts, a little butter, and then mix in the sauce.
one thing for sure, never just pour the sauce in the middle of a pile of white pasta - the pasta doesn't mix well afterwards and gets all gluey - yukko.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #25 of 27
Hey Doc,

Thanks for hitting some points. It also gave me a chance to see some mistakes I made so I also edited it for some errors my lousy hands and mind typed.:blush: :D

Siduri, I guess that would work unfortunately only if the end product is intened to be a smooth and non-chunky sauce. Nothing wrong with that but if you like to see the tomato chunks then I would process the mire poix in advance. As the sauce cooks and you reduce the excess water, the carrots, onion and celery will basically cook into the sauce. This would work for folks that want a chunkier sauce but don't want it to be the carrots, celery or onion that provides it.

One other thing. If you use fresh basil, one of the better ways to prepare and add it to the sauce is a rough chop and added at the very end of the cooking process. This keeps the flavor from becoming too dull and you end up with nice bright green pieces of basil throughout the sauce. My grandmother used to say it was like "Christening the sauce":)
post #26 of 27
hi oldschool,
i agree about the basil - though i find that cooking it doesn;t so much dull its taste but rather changes the taste. It's a taste I don't like, same for parsley, and i like them both chopped on top, not even heated.
I agree, sometimes i like a chunky sauce, but i usually do that by making a mirepoix (or, hey, pasta sauce is italian) a soffritto, which is sauteed slowly in oil or butter, and then add the chunks of tomato. But the pureeing-at-the-end method allows you to just use the whole tomato, peel, seeds and all, which some people don't like (I do, but a lot don't). It's a great fresh summer sauce, which I learned in tuscany from my relatives, but they called it "pummarola" - which is clearly a neapolitain word - maybe the tuscan interpretation of a neapolitain sauce? whatever, it's wonderful.
I also like a sauce with lots of onion and black pepper sauteed in butter, then fresh tomatoes added. oh, yeah, and i can think of plenty of others, there's a kind of bumpy flattish ridged tomato, a little tart even when ripe, which makes a great sauce with garlic and oil - you slice them in half horizontally, fry the garlic slowly in oil ina frying pan, then lay them in next to each other, three minutes on each side. Yum. They're called casalino tomatoes. Don't know if you can find them there. Tried to find a photo of them on google but couldn;t, but discovered they're also called spagnoletto, and are also very much roman, so probably you can't even find them outside rome in other parts of italy. Oh well.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #27 of 27

What is "spaghetti sauce"?

Um... do mean a traditional "red sauce" for your American over-cooked pasta? Open up a jar. What kind of sauce and whet kind of pasta do you fancy?
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