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need immediate help with spaghetti sauce

17058 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  chef_bob
How do I get the bitter taste of tomato paste to be less noticeable?
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Actually, I don't use any paste in my sauce at all. To me it takes away from the natural taste of the sauce. In place of the paste i use tomato puree, crushed roma tomatoes and reduction. If you must use it, try a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar and a bit of sugar.


Chef Mike
I don't use tomato paste, I find it too agressive, with an overbearing backtaste. Even a little. I like skinned seeded tomato puree, sometimes, depending on season, the tinned is better than the fresh. Same with whole toms. of course.
Thanks. I did use sugar, but too late now anyway, we've already eaten! I was just making spaghetti out of whatever I had in the house, and I didn't have any fresh tomatoes or puree, and I didn't have enough crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
next time add grape jelly....but dont tell anyone,,lol
Another tip:

Saute the tomato paste a bit. It caramelizes some of the sugars and cuts down on the bitterness.
Yup. Was taught to ALWAYS saute or roast the tomato paste, best added in after carmelizing the onions, saute until a nice mahogany colour, then add in canned or fresh tomatoes. You'll find that the tomato paste will add body and flavour if you treat it like this. When making veal jus, the tomato paste is always roasted with the mirepoix.
whoa whoa whoa, tomatoe paste is bitter? this isnt right... all the tomatoe paste ive had has all been very tomatoey...

but, im not into tomatoe paste anyway, but still, never realised its bitter, what brand are we using here?
to help take out some of the bitterness just spread the tomato past on like a sheet tray and just put it in the oven till lightly brown on top and it should take out some of the bitterness.
All canned brands tomater paste got bitter overtones..least all them I've tried over the past 40 years or so. Like the man say dont use it. Now anybody who has time to be spreading it out and baking it on a sheet pan got to have too much free time of their hands:) Now if somebody can convince me there is some version of that stuff that aint bitter..I will take all this back and go buy some tomorrow. Thanks.


ps..since I has cooked for money on numberous occasions I think that give me squatting rights over here with the big boys. If that aint according to Hoyle..kindly let me know. Gracias.
then bigwheel are you mocking one of the great chef that did that and i would hope that you know who he is well if you don't it is Escoffier
I can find about 10 different varieties of tomato paste on the supermarket shelves here. I've tried them all, and only one or two are good enough to use.
Having said that, I try to avoid using it in spaghetti sauce; if you have fresh, ripe ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, onions, etc.) you don't need it.
then bigwheel are you mocking one of the great chef that did that and i would hope that you know who he is well if you don't it is Escoffier

You should also take into consideration, that the tomato paste Escoffier was using....did not come from a tin can at the local market.
Any food that is concentrated will have its characteristics exaggerated -- and any canned/tinned food, especially an acidic one like tomatoes, will pick up some (unpleasant) taste from the can.

And I wouldn't be so sure that Escoffier never used canned tomato paste. :eek:
Besides not using it, you can add lemon juice (about 1 OZ per 8 OZ of paste) and to round it out about 1 TSP of anchovy paste per 8 OZ of tomato paste. That will at least help to cover it up for you. All the roasting in the world won't do much to eliminate the flat taste of the paste. You can really only work with it and extend the hard flavors by enhancing them - try this and you'll see. Also, using fresh basil and oregano won't hurt either - dried will only add to the bitterness of tomato paste.
why would a dry spice make it bitter??? I thought that they are just 2 times as stong as fresh.
For what it is worth here are my two tips:

1) I usually add honey to mine. I find it has a nice mellow sweetness that compliments the tomato very well.

2) If I am looking to add some richness to the sauce I puree some sundried tomato. A little costly but works great and a little makes a big difference. (idea from Jamie Oliver)
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