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2014-08-13 1:46 PM

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Pennsylvania
Subject: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

I've been searching for a good recipe for tomato/spaghetti sauce made from scratch, using fresh ingredients (from my garden).  I did make one little batch last week but wasn't completely sold on it.  Does anyone have a winner for me? Chunky, spicy, flavorful, or just a good basic one that I can meld into what I want - any help would be greatly appreciated!



2014-08-13 4:14 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Sensei
Sin City
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

I can't recall it off the top of my head, but it's really not that hard.  Just throw in a lot of basil, garlic, oregano, some onion (for a secret Mediterranean twist and add a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg and surprise people) ... 

The secret is time.  2-3 hours simmer at least.  It has to reduce (so you need a lot of tomatoes).  If you don't, it's going to be bland and runny.  I also wash out the seeds and guts.  Another way is doing it in the slow cooker on low for 10-15 hours.

2014-08-13 4:27 PM
in reply to: Kido

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Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

I did the long simmer with my last batch and was completely shocked when my decent pot of chopped tomatoes and such only yielded 2 pints of sauce when it was finished!  I'll have to try throwing in a dash of cinnamon, I like that idea, thanks!

2014-08-13 6:12 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
Originally posted by melbo55

I've been searching for a good recipe for tomato/spaghetti sauce made from scratch, using fresh ingredients (from my garden).  I did make one little batch last week but wasn't completely sold on it.  Does anyone have a winner for me? Chunky, spicy, flavorful, or just a good basic one that I can meld into what I want - any help would be greatly appreciated!




my favorite (takes maybe about 1/2 hour - 45 minutes start to finish): 3 pounds of your favorite tomatoes, cut into large pieces (quarters or sixths). heat 4-6 table spoons of olive oil, dump in the tomatoes, cook on high, covered, until the tomatoes break down completely and comes to a boil. then take the lid off, reduce heat to medium/medium low, add salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens. when the sauce is thick enough for your liking, tear up some basil leaves and throw them in, stir, serve hot.

I do this in a in a large deep pan, but you can use a sauce pot too.

Modifications:
brown garlic in the oil before putting the tomatoes in (i love garlic but find this unnecessary because i like the sweetness of the tomatoes without the garlic)
OR, add a can of tomato past while boiling to thicken
OR, saute some onions before putting the tomatoes in, then while simmering, add a pint of cream and then, after the sauce has thickened, add 1/2 crab meat and the juice from half a lemon.
OR, brown sausage (or meatballs) in the pan before doing anything else, then return sausage or meatballs to the pan while the sauce is simmering to cook through.
OR, after the sauce is done put it in the blender for an elegant, silky presentation (the color will change from a deep red to orange-ish)
OR, try some combination of the above.

Edited by braciole 2014-08-13 6:13 PM
2014-08-13 6:27 PM
in reply to: braciole

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Tejas
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
I have only tried this with canned crushed tomatoes and it comes out pretty good. I imagine fresh grilled tomatoes would make it even better.


Fired Up Marvelous Marinara Sauce Recipe
Makes. About 4 cups, enough for 4 servings
Preparation time. About 90 minutes
Ingredients
2 pounds of ripe tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced in half
1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery, leaves removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

About the tomatoes. If tomatoes are not in season, use a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. You just can't grill them. Grill the rest of the ingredients instead.

About the herbs. You can use fresh herbs if you wish. Just double the quantity since fresh herbs are mostly water. The rule of thumb is triple the quantity, but play it safe. Some purists will argue that marinara doesn't have oregano, that only pizza sauce has oregano. I like oregano. So I add 1/4 teaspoon. So there.

Optional mix-ins. While the whole shebang is in the pan, a it up a notch with a pinch of red pepper flakes or chipotle powder. If you have some pesto, add a teaspoon.

Indoor version. I have made this dish successfully on a grill pan indoors. Not as good as outdoors, but better than the old saucepan standard.

Method
1) Preheat the grill to medium hot and when it is ready, clean the grates thoroughly. I know you don't clean the grates most of the time, but clean grates are very important for this recipe. Get some smoke started by putting some dry (not soaked) wood chips on the coals or if you are using a gas grill put them in foil, poke holes in the foil, and place the packet as close to the flame as possible. Roll a paper towel into a tight cigar and dip it into cheap vegetable oil. Swab the grill grates with the oil so the tomatoes won't stick. Put them on the grates, cut end down for 5 to 10 minutes with the lid down or until they start to get some dark grill marks. Then roll them over and grill the skin side. Don't worry if they blacken a bit on the skin side. Remove them and let them cool until you can handle them. While the tomatoes are cooking, put the onion, carrot, and celery on the grill and roll them around until well marked.

Optional. Put the tomatoes in your smoker for about 30 minutes at about 225°F. If you go this route, do not grill or smoke the other veggies. The smoke flavor can be a bit too much if you do.

2) The tomato skins should slip off pretty easily when they cool off enough so you can handle them. Yank 'em. When the other veggies are cool, chop them fine.

3) In a 2 quart pot or frying pan warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add everything except the tomatoes and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. If they stick you can deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine or water.

4) Add the tomatoes to the pan, turn the heat to medium low, and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. You don't have to chop them, they'll break down. If it gets too thick add water. If it gets thick again, add water.

5) Remove the bay leaf, taste and adjust the seasonings. If it is too acidic, you can add up to 2 teaspoons of sugar to balance it. You're done. The result is lumpy with those flavorful fire roasted veggies, and that's just the way it is. If you don't like that, you can whup it up in a blender or food processor or with a stick blender and strain it.
2014-08-13 7:13 PM
in reply to: 0

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Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

I'm really liking these suggestions, it's getting the wheels turning!  I like the meat suggestions and the ways to vary the recipe, braciole.  And mdg2003, I'm digging the grilling idea, sounds delicious!  Thanks to everyone so far!



Edited by melbo55 2014-08-13 7:19 PM


2014-08-15 6:36 AM
in reply to: melbo55

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Master
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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

Melanie, a couple of things that might help are a dash of sugar or baking soda. Sprinkle a bit (a couple of pinches) of baking soda in at the end and watch it change from white to orange and possibly darker. That is the acid in the tomatoes being pulled out. Skim that off the top and discard it. It takes only a little bit to make it right, too much and the sauce is not right. Or, use sugar to balance the acidity, rather than trying to remove it with the baking soda.  It may take a couple of batches before you find the right balance.  Also, time is your ally. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors of your garlic, herbs and other ingredients are marinate into one another. If you are a fan of some heat, try adding red crushed pepper flakes. 

After 10 years in restaurant kitchens and 27 years with my Italian wife, I have learned that the reality of tomato sauce is that it is a constantly evolving staple. Most important thing is to try different things. Different sauces (thick, thin, spicy, meaty) have different applications and figuring out which work best for what is part of the joy.

2014-08-15 8:12 AM
in reply to: braciole

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Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
Originally posted by braciole

Originally posted by melbo55

I've been searching for a good recipe for tomato/spaghetti sauce made from scratch, using fresh ingredients (from my garden).  I did make one little batch last week but wasn't completely sold on it.  Does anyone have a winner for me? Chunky, spicy, flavorful, or just a good basic one that I can meld into what I want - any help would be greatly appreciated!




my favorite (takes maybe about 1/2 hour - 45 minutes start to finish): 3 pounds of your favorite tomatoes, cut into large pieces (quarters or sixths). heat 4-6 table spoons of olive oil, dump in the tomatoes, cook on high, covered, until the tomatoes break down completely and comes to a boil. then take the lid off, reduce heat to medium/medium low, add salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens. when the sauce is thick enough for your liking, tear up some basil leaves and throw them in, stir, serve hot.

I do this in a in a large deep pan, but you can use a sauce pot too.

Modifications:
brown garlic in the oil before putting the tomatoes in (i love garlic but find this unnecessary because i like the sweetness of the tomatoes without the garlic)
OR, add a can of tomato past while boiling to thicken
OR, saute some onions before putting the tomatoes in, then while simmering, add a pint of cream and then, after the sauce has thickened, add 1/2 crab meat and the juice from half a lemon.
OR, brown sausage (or meatballs) in the pan before doing anything else, then return sausage or meatballs to the pan while the sauce is simmering to cook through.
OR, after the sauce is done put it in the blender for an elegant, silky presentation (the color will change from a deep red to orange-ish)
OR, try some combination of the above.


another variation -- into the hot oil (before the tomatoes go in), brown some garlic and drop in some crushed red pepper and dissolve 2 or 3 anchovies in the oil, then after the tomatoes break down and are simmering, drop in a maybe a 1/2 cup each of kalamati and green olives (i think that's about the correct measurement, didn't check notes). skip the fresh basil on this one. Putanesca . . . . . .

2014-08-15 10:33 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Pro
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Tejas
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
Originally posted by cdban66

Melanie, a couple of things that might help are a dash of sugar or baking soda. Sprinkle a bit (a couple of pinches) of baking soda in at the end and watch it change from white to orange and possibly darker. That is the acid in the tomatoes being pulled out. Skim that off the top and discard it. It takes only a little bit to make it right, too much and the sauce is not right. Or, use sugar to balance the acidity, rather than trying to remove it with the baking soda.  It may take a couple of batches before you find the right balance.  Also, time is your ally. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors of your garlic, herbs and other ingredients are marinate into one another. If you are a fan of some heat, try adding red crushed pepper flakes. 

After 10 years in restaurant kitchens and 27 years with my Italian wife, I have learned that the reality of tomato sauce is that it is a constantly evolving staple. Most important thing is to try different things. Different sauces (thick, thin, spicy, meaty) have different applications and figuring out which work best for what is part of the joy.




The baking soda thing works great for green beans, cabbage and other cooked green vegetables. Pop about 1/4 tsp in the water when cooking. It almost works like green dye!
2014-08-16 7:49 AM
in reply to: melbo55

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Veteran
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Columbus, Ohio
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
If you want to add flavor you need to cook your italian sausage (or other pork) with the sauce. IMO.
2014-08-16 10:11 AM
in reply to: jacasa

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Master
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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?

Originally posted by jacasa If you want to add flavor you need to cook your italian sausage (or other pork) with the sauce. IMO.

Another variation to this is when TW will simmer meatballs that have been baked in the sauce as well. It's all good.



2014-08-18 10:48 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Supersonicus Idioticus
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Thunder Bay, ON
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
I can smell the food just reading these recipes!
2014-08-25 5:43 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Master
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Straight outta Compton
Subject: RE: anyone have a good tomato sauce recipe?
Originally posted by melbo55

I've been searching for a good recipe for tomato/spaghetti sauce made from scratch, using fresh ingredients (from my garden).  I did make one little batch last week but wasn't completely sold on it.  Does anyone have a winner for me? Chunky, spicy, flavorful, or just a good basic one that I can meld into what I want - any help would be greatly appreciated!




I was playing around this weekend with the stuff from my garden, and my kids told me this is the best one yet:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb turkey sausage
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 springs of fresh rosemary
handful of fresh oregano
handful of fresh basil
1 can tomato paste
2-3 lbs (4-5 very good sized tomatoes from the garden), chopped into bite-size pieces
dash of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of basil, cut chiffonade, to garnish the finished bowl

Brown the turkey and turkey sausage, using a splash of olive oil to coat the pan
Drain any grease and put the meat into a crockpot
Sautee the onions and garlic in the same pan- use the grease from the meat to coat the onions (this makes a big difference)
Once the onions are translucent, add them to the crock pot.
Add the whole herbs to the crockpot (you can pull our the stems later if you're lazy like I am), or chop them up and add them, sans stems
Add the diced up tomatoes and tomato paste.
Let it sit in the crockpot on low for 3 hours

It tastes even better the next day. The ribbons of basil on top really add a nice touch too.
Of course the key here is to use fresh tomatoes from your garden. I used heirloom beefsteak, but I think roma's would probably be even better. This recipe is a piece of cake and my 9 and 6 year old loved it.
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