the quest for the perfect tomato sauce

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an indisputable truth: there can be nothing greater than the greatest tomato sauce

post your recipes, strategies, greatest successes and greatest failures

let us all learn from each other, and eat the perfect tomato sauce

J0rdan S., Monday, 19 April 2010 23:54 (ten years ago) link

5 minutes

fry the garlic and a little chili

add a can of tomatos (not cheap shitty ones, this is crucial)

lil bit of lemon zest and lemon juice, not too much. salt/pepper

sin é

this is awes with spaghetti and you can make it from scratch in the time it takes to boil the pasta

plax (ico), Tuesday, 20 April 2010 00:00 (ten years ago) link

I like to use canned italian tomatoes... even an ex of mine's awesome italian mum who cooks like a demon said "dont use fresh aus tomatoes, they all suck unless you grow your own, get canned italian".

If I could, though, I would grow my own nice ripe romas, then skin them and simmer them down in a pan with a touch of garlic and salt/sugar, and make bottles of my own passatta.

Need to be in a bigger kitchen for that to ever happen tho.

Eyjafjallalalalalatrolololol (Trayce), Tuesday, 20 April 2010 05:34 (ten years ago) link

the type of canned tomatoes is pretty key here, and like trayce said, i'd also put in a tiny bit of sugar

just sayin, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 07:40 (ten years ago) link

Seriously guys, the stop ends here. I've been looking for something this good for years and years and I have found it; peoples' jaws have dropped when I have served it to them, and my mother was hovering over the empty pot like a starving child eating the leftovers with a spoon.

J0rdan (& co.) you MUST try this and then report back to this thread. It is so good I keep it in a txt file on my desktop.

JOHN'S MARINARA SAUCE

6 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and sliced (about 15 cloves. For real.)
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or lots more)
2 tbsp dry red wine
40 oz canned or packaged chopped tomatoes (they recommend Pomi brand; I used 28oz can crushed + 15oz can diced, with liquid)
2 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 - 1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
Vegetable stock (only if you want a thinner sauce)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, freshly ground pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute until garlic is soft, about another 5 minutes, being very careful not to burn it. (Turn down heat and/or remove from heat and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture if you find it browning too quickly.)

Add red wine. Stir well. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt, and sugar. Cook uncovered over medium heat about 45 min to 1 hour. If sauce thickens too quickly or if you prefer a thinner sauce, add vegetable broth, about 1/4 cup at a time, until sauce reaches the desired consistency

Yield: a large pot, enough for 1 1/2 pounds of pasta or a pan of lasagna

Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm Ann Reinking! (Stevie D), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 03:36 (ten years ago) link

erm I mean the search stops here.

Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm Ann Reinking! (Stevie D), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 03:37 (ten years ago) link

yo been thinkin 'bout bolognese recently. when i make tomato sauce my protocol is quite similar to stevie d's there except on a smaller scale. follow this recipe jordan and you will be happy with the results.

i made an impromptu sauce last night -- not that recipe cuz i didn't have time/all the ingredients -- and it went p well. maybe a bit too acidic & thin for my taste tho

ibaka flocka flame (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 28 April 2010 23:13 (ten years ago) link

well dude when it comes to good tomato sauce there is no substitute for time. probably put it back on the stove and cook it down a little if it was too thick. plus if you did it right it's always better the next day.

http://www.backyardgardener.com/seeds/images/large/475.jpg
heard these pomodoro tomatoes make some bom ass sauce (it's a roma hybrid of some sort)
saw that they have these kind of seeds there in the italian deli where i gets me sopresata

er thick i meant thin

see the thing is, i tried to let it cook down, but then i felt like i was losing too much liquid and it was gonna end up too chutney-like -- idk

ibaka flocka flame (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 28 April 2010 23:20 (ten years ago) link

The key is to let it simmer on low w/ plenty of liquid for quite awhile (until the tomatoes/meats have broken down), then quickly reduce it over higher heat to thicken. Or, add some tomato paste. Or both. The right amount of oil is pretty key too, it emulsifies with the reduced liquid and gives the sauce more body. If you're making a meat sauce like bolognese, using some demiglace does the same.

Jaq, Thursday, 29 April 2010 00:03 (ten years ago) link

For a more classic bolognese, add milk or cream once you have browned the meat. Simmer that until the liquid has evaporated and then continue with the sauce.

righteousmaelstrom, Friday, 30 April 2010 16:00 (ten years ago) link

I adore the classic Bolognese but it takes HOURS to simmer the water out of the meat, then simmer the milk off, then simmer the wine off, THEN finish the sauce and let it...you guessed it: simmer.

wasting time and money trying to change the weather (Laurel), Friday, 30 April 2010 16:02 (ten years ago) link

I use ketchup instead of sugar for (in theory) added tomatoey goodness. Also tomato puree.

the big pink suede panda bear hurts (ledge), Friday, 30 April 2010 16:03 (ten years ago) link

Sometimes you just want a fresh bright tomato taste that isn't too acidic, you know? Keep the oregano away, keep all the smokiness away, I'm just looking for tang! Pep! I'm gonna try that one with lemon zest soon.

wasting time and money trying to change the weather (Laurel), Friday, 30 April 2010 16:03 (ten years ago) link

I follow a bittman recipe, you fry up some shallots/onions, add a can of plum tomatoes (whole), cook it down, add some olive oil, salt and pepper maybe. simple is best

also he recommends that unless your tomatoes are "good enough to eat raw like an apple" you're better off using canned stuff

going non-native (dyao), Friday, 30 April 2010 16:06 (ten years ago) link

also chunky, reduced tomato sauces are the best - the greatest spaghetti I've ever had in my life was served to me in this small cottage on the side of a mountain cooked for us by an italian missionary, it was chunky as hell, too bad I threw it all up 15 minutes later due to altitude sickness

going non-native (dyao), Friday, 30 April 2010 16:07 (ten years ago) link

got this on the stove

ibaka flocka flame (J0rdan S.), Sunday, 2 May 2010 01:47 (ten years ago) link

really, a very, very good sauce

J0rdan S., Sunday, 2 May 2010 02:40 (ten years ago) link

like, really good

J0rdan S., Sunday, 2 May 2010 02:40 (ten years ago) link

<3

J0rdan S., Sunday, 2 May 2010 02:42 (ten years ago) link

stevie's is nearly exactly how i make it, but with more wine wine. which is reduced for about 5 mins before adding the tomatoes.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Monday, 10 May 2010 05:27 (ten years ago) link

i did add ketchup tho bcuz i wanted more sweetness

J0rdan S., Monday, 10 May 2010 05:29 (ten years ago) link

i decided it was okay cuz i saw alton brown add ketchup during the good eats meat sauce episode

J0rdan S., Monday, 10 May 2010 05:29 (ten years ago) link

wtf

Tape Store, Monday, 10 May 2010 05:33 (ten years ago) link

it's a sweet, tomato based product, not really that crazy if you actually think about it

J0rdan S., Monday, 10 May 2010 05:39 (ten years ago) link

"there's no substitute" is what he said

J0rdan S., Monday, 10 May 2010 05:39 (ten years ago) link

carmelizing the onions is the key. you want that shit translucent and bittersweet.

i'm thinking about ketchup on spaghetti noodles and getting grossed out

Tape Store, Monday, 10 May 2010 05:42 (ten years ago) link

sorry spaghetti noodles is redundant, my bad

Tape Store, Monday, 10 May 2010 05:43 (ten years ago) link

you people who add sugar are the most disgusting savages ITT imho

I used to prefer my spaghetti sauces to be sweet but after I had a good spaghetti sauce I couldn't go back

Did you in fact lift my luggage (dyao), Monday, 10 May 2010 05:59 (ten years ago) link

maybe if there was meat in it I would want it to be sweet but I just make mine with garlic and onions and stuff

Did you in fact lift my luggage (dyao), Monday, 10 May 2010 05:59 (ten years ago) link

i didn't want sweet tomato sauce -- just slightly sweeter than what it was

J0rdan S., Monday, 10 May 2010 06:01 (ten years ago) link

Yeah when I say add sugar, I'm literally talkin a PINCH. Quarter teaspoon, max.

Eyjafjallalalalalatrolololol (Trayce), Monday, 10 May 2010 06:05 (ten years ago) link

And really, it would depend on the maters anyway - if theyre godlike home grown ones they may be sweet enough not to need it, but I dont think Ive ever had tomaters that good :(

Another good combo: a good simmered down simple sauce as everyone's listed above, with a few fresh herbs, onions & garlic... then t'wards the end, toss in a drained can of chickpeas. If you like, mush some of em with a fork. Hearty goodness, goes well with a short pasta like orrichiete or penne.

Eyjafjallalalalalatrolololol (Trayce), Monday, 10 May 2010 06:07 (ten years ago) link

i can dig the chickpeas

Tape Store, Monday, 10 May 2010 06:17 (ten years ago) link

you people who add sugar are the most disgusting savages ITT imho

just a pinch is all

are we human or are we dancer (m coleman), Monday, 10 May 2010 10:15 (ten years ago) link

sugar in tomato sauce is like as old as cooking itself so uh

plax (ico), Monday, 10 May 2010 17:55 (ten years ago) link

pro tip: add a couple anchovy filets when u are frying the onions & garlic... u won't taste them in the end but they will add some serious umami. (or just add some fish sauce at some point in the cooking).

never add fresh basil till i serve, personally.

sir gaga (s1ocki), Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:55 (ten years ago) link

love making a good bolognese, but not really a "tomato sauce" imo

sir gaga (s1ocki), Tuesday, 11 May 2010 14:56 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

ayo can someone give me like a quick meatball recipe

looking to kill like a half pound of ground beef

truly blunted rhyme fiend (J0rdan S.), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:34 (ten years ago) link

Um, bread soaked in milk and kneaded into the ground meat is the tip I've heard most. Other things that go into the mix = onions, garlic, both diced; grated parmesan; basil & parsley, minced; s&p.

I've got ten bucks. SURPRISE ME. (Laurel), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:36 (ten years ago) link

Brown them in a skillet with some oil, then lay on a flat sheet or plate and freeze, or dump 'em into your sauce of choice and uh...let simmer for a while?

I've got ten bucks. SURPRISE ME. (Laurel), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:37 (ten years ago) link

yes, but it's a good idea to brown first either way

janice (surm), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:46 (ten years ago) link

Oh yes, that's what I meant. They have to be browned to have anything near the flavor you want. But from that point you can either freeze them for later, or put them into a sauce right away.

I've got ten bucks. SURPRISE ME. (Laurel), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:48 (ten years ago) link

i've heard the tri-meat mix is best. pork, beef, and veal, i think? breadcrumbs, parsley, some grated parm, and season to taste.

janice (surm), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:48 (ten years ago) link

oh sorry that's not helpful tho, u have beef. beef is always amazing.

janice (surm), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:49 (ten years ago) link

mwah, thank u ramz

truly blunted rhyme fiend (J0rdan S.), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:49 (ten years ago) link

Yes!! I consider myself lucky when I've lived in nabes where they stores carry "meatloaf mix" -- otherwise I have to buy ground beef and ground pork separately and mix them and then repack for the fridge or freezer. The beef/pork/veal combo is KING ime.

I've got ten bucks. SURPRISE ME. (Laurel), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:49 (ten years ago) link

and laurel too

truly blunted rhyme fiend (J0rdan S.), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:49 (ten years ago) link

My wife made a fantastic batch of meatballs a couple of weeks ago -- 2 parts ground chuck, 1 part breakfast sausage, crumbs/onion/garlic/seasonings/egg, baked instead of browned in skillet.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 15 October 2010 19:50 (ten years ago) link

go for non-italian meatballs—brown them in butter, then slow-cook 'em in beef stock

u will die they are so good

faust LARP (s1ocki), Friday, 15 October 2010 21:35 (ten years ago) link

I make meatballs for albondigas soup w/ pork and rice. Delicious in the spicy broth w/ squeeze of lime.

Jaq, Friday, 15 October 2010 22:19 (ten years ago) link

Always like your style, jaq

Aerosol, Friday, 15 October 2010 22:37 (ten years ago) link

post albondigas recipe plz

social-media-compost Circle of Life (jdchurchill), Friday, 22 October 2010 00:19 (ten years ago) link

Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for

twenty guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some

garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't

stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh?... And a

little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick.

i love you but i have chosen snarkness (Steve Shasta), Friday, 22 October 2010 00:22 (ten years ago) link

steve shasta legendary foodie: i like yr off the cuff style but prefer a bit more direction
and i have cooked for 100 people before dude so don't give me that 'learn something kid' shit punk

social-media-compost Circle of Life (jdchurchill), Friday, 22 October 2010 00:28 (ten years ago) link

...

i love you but i have chosen snarkness (Steve Shasta), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:12 (ten years ago) link

shastamenza

george pimpton (s1ocki), Friday, 22 October 2010 03:58 (ten years ago) link

kids these days...

i love you but i have chosen snarkness (Steve Shasta), Friday, 22 October 2010 04:00 (ten years ago) link

birth certificate or gtfo

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 22 October 2010 04:02 (ten years ago) link

smh @ jdchurchill

just sayin, Friday, 22 October 2010 07:14 (ten years ago) link

oh my i am such a dick, sorry steve shasta i was in quite a foul mood when i wrote that

social-media-compost Circle of Life (jdchurchill), Friday, 22 October 2010 22:21 (ten years ago) link

smh

C. Tuomas Howell (jim in glasgow), Friday, 22 October 2010 22:28 (ten years ago) link

wow this really got away from perfect tomato sauce
bummer but there is some good stuff here

social-media-compost Circle of Life (jdchurchill), Saturday, 23 October 2010 06:08 (ten years ago) link


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