Never made an Italian tomato sauce. What's you best recipe?

Discussion in 'Whats Cooking? Food, Drink, & Gear' started by PalmRoyale, Jan 19, 2019.

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  1. Jan 19, 2019 #1

    PalmRoyale

    PalmRoyale

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    I don't really need to write down more, do I?
     
  2. Jan 19, 2019 #2

    parbaked

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    The most important thing is to use San Marzano tomatoes.
    1. 2 tablespoons of your best olive oil in a heavy pot with some red chili flakes.
    2. Sweat finely diced onions
    3. Add finely diced garlic and cook until you can smell it
    4. Add can of San Marzano tomatoes ( you can break up the tomatoes before adding or just crush them in the pot).
    5. Add couple of basil leaves (optional)
    6. Cook on low simmer for at least one hour.
    7. Salt and pepper to taste
    This is a good base sauce that you can use in other recipes.
    For a richer sauce you can cook a tablespoon or two of tomato paste into the onions before adding the tomatoes.
     
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  3. Jan 19, 2019 #3

    HRC_64

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    what are you making and what are you trying to 'sauce'?
    not to be pedantic, but it helps... :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  4. Jan 19, 2019 #4

    brianh

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    The way I do it anyway... couple cups finely diced carrots sautéed for maybe 15 minutes, then add cup finely diced celery, go another 10 min or so, and 1-2c diced onions and go until soft. Add lots of smashed garlic. Couple large cans hand-crushed Muir Glen organic peeled tomatoes, or mix it up with one regular can and one fire roasted. Handful fresh basil, dried Italian herbs. Simmer few hours then hit with a stick blender. Cooking the carrots so long adds a nice sweetness so I usually don’t need to add sugar. Add salt and pepper.
     
  5. Jan 19, 2019 #5

    jacko9

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    1) olive oil
    2) sweat diced onions
    3)add crushed garlic and red chili flakes, salt and pepper
    4)add canned crushed tomatoes (fresh from the garden in summer)
    5)add tomato sauce
    6)add brown sugar
    7)add wine (marsala or dry white)
    8)add tomato paste
    9) add chopped basil and oregano ( I use fresh from the garden)
    10) add water as needed
    11) add browned italian sausage for flavor
    12) bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for several hours
     
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  6. Jan 19, 2019 #6

    9mmbhp

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    parbaked's recipe is very similar to Marcella Hazan's simple tomato sauce - can of tomatoes, an onion, 4-5 tbsp butter.
     
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  7. Jan 19, 2019 #7

    dough

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    So as I understand it there are different types of tomato sauce depending on the quality of your tomatoes. If you have really good tomatoes (all canned San marzano are not created equally) or you could have some piennolo tomatoes anyway with these types of tomatoes you pass through a food mill then heat some olive oil, I tend to use more neutral tasting oil as stronger oil can take over the flavor of the tomatoes, toast some garlic in the oil and add 12oz of milled tomatoes with a pinch of salt. Reduce for about ten minutes add fresh basil and cooked pasta. Toss your pasta in the sauce til the sauce and pasta come together takes a few minutes then plate. You can finish with fancier oil on the plate if you like. That I believe is a pomodoro.
    Marinara is another thing and a longer cooked sauce. The key with that is to strain off the foam as it reduces. Once it stops producing foam then you are about done it really shouldn’t be too tight unless that’s how you like it the by all means do you but not how I was taught. Also marinara is more like recipes above with garlic/onions/Basil.
     
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  8. Jan 20, 2019 #8

    panda

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    This recipe is on point. Definitely do the tomato paste make sure it gets caramelized.
     
  9. Jan 20, 2019 #9

    PalmRoyale

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    I want to try a simple pasta+meat balls+sauce dish. I saw that my local super market now sells Mutti finely chopped canned tomatoes which as I understand it is a go to brand in Italy so it must be the best quality San Marzano tomatoes. For some reason I've never really tried Italian cooking and seeing the can gave me a kick in the butt I guess.
     
  10. Jan 20, 2019 #10

    Trouthead

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    My grandmother always said that oregano was for Pizza and basil was for sauce. She always put some sugar in the sauce, like a tablespoon or so.
     
  11. Jan 20, 2019 #11

    parbaked

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    Mutti is definitely not San Marzano tomatoes...maybe Italian, but not the best. You should try to source real D.O.P. certified San Marzano tomatoes for the best sauce.

    For spaghetti and meatballs, make the base sauce as I directed, brown the meatballs, then finish cooking in the tomatoes sauce.

    My meatball recipe is in this thread:
    https://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/threads/italian-meatballs-with-sauce-ideas-needed.35564/

    This what I do. Based on my Neapolitan Nana's recipe...simple is better.

    1. Make tomato sauce. You can make a large batch to use as a base sauce for so many recipes. I freeze 1 cup or 1/2 cup portions which are always handy.
    Saute finely diced onions then garlic. Add a little tomato paste and cook that out. Add DOP San Marzano tomatoes. It's worth it. Most have a piece of basil in the can. Cento brand is widely available and not expensive. Simmer the sauce low while you start the other tasks. I don't add wine or herbs to this base sauce but add those later when I cook the meatballs.

    2. Make meatballs.
    I use pork, beef, egg, bread, parmesan and a puree of onion parsley and garlic. Soak finely cut or torn white bread without crust in a little milk (or water if you're poor like my Nana). Squeeze out the bread and save milk to add to meatballs mix if needed. Don't use store bought bread crumbs, especially not the one's with "Italian" seasoning. In a pinch you can use a slurry of panko and milk. Mix all this with the ground meat, cheese and veggie puree. Let this sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld and the bread to absorb liquids etc. Remove mixture from fridge and hand form meatballs (lightly as possible) when you are ready to cook them.

    3. Cook it!
    I like to fry the meatballs off in a large saute pan or shallow pot. This way you get a lot of fond to flavor the sauce, especially if you included parmesan in the meatball mix. Brown the meatballs on all sides then remove. Sweat fine cut onions and garlic and red pepper flake in residual oil. Deglaze with white wine then add a few ladles of your base sauce. You can also add any leftover milk from the bread soaking if desired. Add back the meatballs and simmer for 20-30 minutes. I don't like to overcook the meatballs as they can loose flavor and texture. With all that fond, 20 minutes is plenty to flavor the tomato sauce, especially if you don't use too much.

    4. Serve...I like to serve the meatballs and pasta separately.
    Cook up your favorite pasta. Plate the meatballs on s platter with a dollop of sauce, fresh parmesan and some fresh parsley or basil and a splash of olive oil. Finish cooking pasta in remaining sauce. Plate pasta individually topped with parmesan, parsley/basil olive oil and fresh pepper. Serve each guest their plate of pasta with the platter of meatballs and a bowl of any remaining tomato sauce on the middle of the table to share.

    Yes, they do taste even better the next day so make enough to have leftovers...Enjoy!
     
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  12. Jan 20, 2019 #12

    WildBoar

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    I made 2 batches this week for a lunch I was hosting today. First one had a bit more in it than parbaked's recipe, such as a little bacon, minced carrot, some white wine and a shot of vodka. Problem was the canned tomatoes I bought turned out to be horrible -- no acid at all, and zero tomato flavor. Part of it was buying crushed tomatoes instead of whole peeled, but I have bought the same brand before and the crushed tomatoes have been okay.

    Wound up doing an emergency second batch last night, using canned whole tomatoes. I put a little onion and garlic in first, but skipped adding any pork or needed ( I needed to get it to a reasonable point quickly). Other then some salt and dried basil there was nothing else. The sauce turned out fine.
     
  13. Jan 20, 2019 #13

    parbaked

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    I forgot to add that one should always use the whole peeled tomatoes...crushed or diced tomatoes are for tacos & chili...

    Also, no dried oregano or "Italian seasoning" please. I do fresh basil or nothing.
     
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  14. Jan 20, 2019 #14

    PalmRoyale

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    Just found out Mutti does do canned San Marzano DOP certified tomatoes and they're available at another supermarket. I'm going to buy a can of those and mix it with the Mutti finely chopped tomatoes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  15. Jan 20, 2019 #15

    brianh

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    I would try various brands of canned tomatoes without getting stuck on them being San Marzano. I used San Marzano for years but now prefer the clean, fresh taste of whole peeled Muir Glen.
     
  16. Jan 20, 2019 #16

    parbaked

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    Don't go for a purist recipe then.
    Try the Mutti...add a little sugar if it taste too acidic.
    My suggestion would be to make meaty pasta sauces to compensate for the crap tomatoes.
    Add bacon and mire poix.
    If your meatballs are great, and you cook them in the sauce, they will help compensate for the less than optimal tomato product.
     
  17. Jan 20, 2019 #17

    PalmRoyale

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    I make awesome meatballs that make anything taste good :D
     
  18. Jan 20, 2019 #18

    parbaked

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    Let us know how it turns out...
     
  19. Jan 20, 2019 #19

    PalmRoyale

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    I will but tomorrow it's chilli time :D The pasta+meat balls is on the menu on Monday.
     
  20. Jan 20, 2019 #20

    WildBoar

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    That is exactly what I did on my first batch. The sauce was okay if you didn't know it was supposed to be a tomato sauce :cool: I used some of it in the layers of a lasagna I made, but to top off the lasagna and for serving I needed real tomato flavor, which meant a new batch.

    We actually have a bit of canned and frozen plum tomatoes from our garden last summer, but the luncheon was not worth me sacrificing any of that (it's only enough for 2-3 good batches over the winter and spring, which are reserved for family).

    The second batch used the Muir Glen peeled whole tomatoes. The grocery store had no DOP/ San Marzanos during either of my visits, which was weird as they usually have some. Guess I will stock up at Restaurant Depot. But the Muir Glen's had very good flavor; I was happy with the sauce, even though it was more of a 'quick' sauce vs the long-simmered sauce I usually make.
     
  21. Jan 20, 2019 #21

    panda

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    i like to use sausage and pancetta in my red sauce for spaghetti instead of making meatballs. i do use ground beef when making angel hair however.

    dont get caught up on tomato can brand, i always get what ever is on sale that is marked DOP san marzano. if you want to get fancy with it, try adding fresh campari tomatoes but roasted in 500deg oven first.
     
  22. Jan 20, 2019 #22

    WildBoar

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    You are really supposed to use sausages AND meatballs if you want to do it right...

    You chefs, always cutting corners to get food out. :p
     
  23. Jan 20, 2019 #23

    panda

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    well in pro setting i do a braised pork neck ragu (which has pancetta added) AND meatballs which is a 2-day prep process, def no cut corners there.
     
  24. Jan 20, 2019 #24

    boomchakabowwow

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    I like Cento brand tomatoes. I usually use the crushed version.

    My simple sauce.

    I grate some onions. Sauté in some butter. Pinch of red pepper flakes. Garlic. Salt.

    Dump in tomatoes. Toss in pasta. Add diced basil.

    Boom.
     
  25. Jan 20, 2019 #25

    Anton

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    throw an anchovy or two after those onions finish frying and before the tomatoes go in - it does wonders
     
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  26. Jan 20, 2019 #26

    Anton

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    serious business - always
     
  27. Jan 20, 2019 #27

    panda

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    im weird in that i dont like to eat fresh pasta, much prefer dried cause it's way more al dente. but ya know, restaurant setting gotta make it fresh... whatevers.

    all this pasta talk got me wanting some pappardelle and short rib with calabrian chillies.
    or some bucatini carbonara
     
  28. Jan 20, 2019 #28

    brianh

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    +1 to this!
     
  29. Jan 20, 2019 #29

    Anton

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    Gonna defrost some oxtail and make a ragu
     
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  30. Jan 20, 2019 #30

    dough

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    Just curious and hopefully not to hijack what’s your carbonara recipe?
     

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