Hot!“Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce

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BrooklynBill
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2006/03/04 17:08:02 (permalink)

“Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce

Beside the usual – garlic, onion, olive oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, etc. -- that would constitute a red sauce, is there another, a “secret” ingredient that you always use?
I’m after something that you feel rounds out or makes a sauce.

What’s in your spaghetti sauce?

Bill
#1

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    Greymo
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 17:18:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BrooklynBill

    Beside the usual – garlic, onion, olive oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, etc. -- that would constitute a red sauce, is there another, a “secret” ingredient that you always use?
    I’m after something that you feel rounds out or makes a sauce.

    What’s in your spaghetti sauce?

    Bill



    Wine! and lots of love
    #2
    Sundancer7
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 17:29:06 (permalink)
    I do not know if it is a secret but I use a plain medium hot country sausage. Personally, I think it takes the plain out of the beef and kicks it up somewhat.

    I think I overdo with onions, peppers and garlic. I get yelled at because of that.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #3
    V960
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 17:34:11 (permalink)
    Vodka,
    Certain flavors in tomatoes are only soluble in alcohol.
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 17:38:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BrooklynBill

    Beside the usual – garlic, onion, olive oil, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, etc. -- that would constitute a red sauce, is there another, a “secret” ingredient that you always use?
    I’m after something that you feel rounds out or makes a sauce.

    What’s in your spaghetti sauce?

    Bill



    Red wine, but no tomato paste and no sugar.
    #5
    Jimeats
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 17:42:45 (permalink)
    Not a secret but if I'm useing a canned tomato other than San Marzarno I add gratted carrots. Chow Jim
    #6
    Big Butt BBQ
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/04 19:38:32 (permalink)
    I keep it simple. I only use tomatoes from Stanislaus county, Calif.,Alta Cuccina's, Saporito's or Full Red. Olive oil, roasted garlic,garlic powder, parsley, basil, salt, pepper,a big piece of pork butt and a few sweet italian sausages. Simmer for 4 hours and finish it off with a little extra virgin olive oil.
    #7
    scott123
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 04:09:05 (permalink)
    My secret isn't the ingredients I add, it's the ingredients I omit. No dried basil and no dried oregano. Fresh basil, sure, but not dried. Dried basil, imo, is an abomination.
    #8
    BT
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 04:34:05 (permalink)
    Like Michael, I eschew tomato paste in most versions of red pasta sauce (I make many depending on what I feel like eating--some with Italian sausage, some with pepperoni, some meatless). I think it adds a bitter flavor. Instead, I use a combination of whole tomatoes and tomato puree. I also generally use a pinch of sugar, a pinch (or two) of red pepper flakes. I do not add water--rather I use additions of WHITE wine to keep it from getting too thick as it cooks (no shortage of alcohol to solublize those tomato essences V960).

    If I am making a meat sauce with ground meat (Americanized Bolognese sauce), I often start with a mirepoix (mixture of finely chopped onions, carrots and celery) and some chopped pancetta which I saute before adding the ground meat and, just before the ground meat is done, I add minced garlic (which gets bitter if it actually browns).

    I also don't use "pure" organo but rather a combo of marjoram and oregano. They are in the same family but I think marjoram has a more subtle flavor.

    As Jimeats has said, San Marzano tomatoes are the best for any Italian recipes, but considering they are pricey, I've found that Trader Joe's canned plum tomatoes are very nearly as good and much better than other American canned tomatoes.
    #9
    RibRater
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 06:13:57 (permalink)
    Since I make a meatless sauce, fennel seed is probably the most important ingrediant. Provides that "cooked with italian sausage" flavor without the sausage.
    #10
    roossy90
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 08:57:45 (permalink)
    A bit of bacon grease.
    No bacon, just some drippings.
    #11
    jpdchef
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 12:35:39 (permalink)
    anchovy's
    #12
    Mosca
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 12:48:32 (permalink)
    A drop or two of balsamic vinegar. Or sometimes just a touch of fennel.


    Tom
    #13
    BT
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 12:54:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by roossy90

    A bit of bacon grease.
    No bacon, just some drippings.



    Unless you want the smoked flavor, try what I said above: use a little chopped pancetta instead. For anyone lurking who doesn't know, of course, pancetta is Italian bacon and it isn't smoked, it's dry cured.
    #14
    Rick F.
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 13:14:20 (permalink)
    Anise seed and powdered allspice.
    #15
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/05 17:59:02 (permalink)
    Mrs. Roadhouse will occasionally toss in a bit of Bar-B-Que Sauce (Guess what brand). This will probably not be much of a surprise or a secret to anyone. What might surprise you is that she also likes to put a little instant coffee or espresso in there too. It's barely noticeable but it does give the flavor a little more depth and richness.

    Buddy
    #16
    shortchef
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 09:54:00 (permalink)
    Buddy, how much coffee does she use? I've heard of using this but never tried it--don't want to get too much or too little. I usually make it in my 5 1/2 quart crockpot, so you can go from there. Thanks!
    #17
    Dipstick
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 12:31:24 (permalink)
    I often add two tablespoons chilled butter right at the end to give it a little extra richness.
    #18
    Pigiron
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 12:58:16 (permalink)
    I go even simpler:

    -Lots of slivered fresh garlic sauteed slowly in EV olive oil (don't let it brown)
    -add tomatoes (fresh diced if in season, otherwise quality canned crushed San Marzano)
    -add fresh (never dried) torn Basil
    -pinch of sugar depending on acidity of tomatoes.

    That's it.
    #19
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 14:06:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by shortchef

    Buddy, how much coffee does she use? I've heard of using this but never tried it--don't want to get too much or too little. I usually make it in my 5 1/2 quart crockpot, so you can go from there. Thanks!
    Mrs. Roadhouse is one of those cooks who, unless she is baking, keeps the measuring spoons under lock and key so as not to be constrained by the limits of exactitude. However, she estimates that she will use about 2 Tablespoons in a batch that size. My advice is to start with 1 Tablespoon and see if you like the taste. You can always add more, subtracting is a little tougher.

    Buddy
    #20
    SassyGritsAL
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 14:18:30 (permalink)
    Teaspoon of sugar to cut the acid and also a teaspoon of bacon grease. I save my bacon grease and put it in a little glass jar and store in the frig. I usually replace it every 2 months. I use the bacon grease when I make cornbread, fresh green beans, etc. Comes in very handy for us southern cooks.
    #21
    laststandchili
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 14:38:37 (permalink)
    I usually start with some reasonable quality chianti (not from a box), and reduce by at least one third to concentrate the flavor, but avoid a runny sauce.
    I rarely use paste for anything anymore, but I always keep one of the toothpaste tube type containers in the fridge for added depth in sauces, stocks, and gravies when I want a little tomato background. When I do reach for it its never for more than a tablespoon (healthy squirt), so the tube is much better than wasting the remainder of even a small can.

    Vayo con Queso
    #22
    jerseygirl127
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 16:14:14 (permalink)
    brown sugar .. white vinegar... worcestishire sauce.. it's awesome-- it's a sweet and sour spaghetti sauce and the family loves it!!
    #23
    Tony Bad
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/06 16:19:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jimeats

    Not a secret but if I'm useing a canned tomato other than San Marzarno I add gratted carrots. Chow Jim


    Rats...you swiped my answer

    My Grandma said the carrot takes the acid out...but if I use good San Marzano tomatoes...especially the DOP cans...I don't bother with the carrots.
    #24
    santacruz
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/07 16:39:43 (permalink)
    Instead of sugar I put 1Tblsp. of Maple Syrup to cut the acidity. It gives it a nice smokey sweet flavor.
    #25
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/07 17:48:21 (permalink)
    I always use tomato paste (as well as the canned tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes IF they are from the garden). The tomato paste gives a distinctive, rich tomato flavor.

    The other thing I do is to fry some of the tomato paste (or some of the sauce itself) to carmalize it ("pince" to you French cooks) ... stirring constantly and being careful not to let it burn (or as Clemenza says in The Godfather "you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick".

    Occasionally I add some baking soda or sugar as was discussed on another thread ... but much more often instead it's that "secret ingredient" ... Anisette.
    #26
    zussers
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/07 18:39:51 (permalink)
    Thanks JCBBQ for the fennel idea! I don't eat meat and will try it in my next sauce! I also use SAN MARZANO tomatoes but I also add crushed red pepper to give it some heat!
    #27
    Tony Bad
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/07 19:31:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sonny Funzio

    The other thing I do is to fry some of the tomato paste (or some of the sauce itself) to carmalize it ("pince" to you French cooks) ... stirring constantly and being careful not to let it burn (or as Clemenza says in The Godfather "you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick"



    Another good tip from Clemenza was to slice the garlic as thin as possible...almost allowing it to melt away while cooking.

    I also liked his line "leave the gun, take the cannoli"
    #28
    repartee
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/08 05:16:32 (permalink)
    I use minced chicken livers and grated carrots.
    #29
    roossy90
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    RE: “Secret” Ingredient in your Pasta Sauce 2006/03/08 08:53:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by repartee

    I use minced chicken livers and grated carrots.

    Are you for real? Chicken Livers in Spaghetti sauce?
    Is that a standard recipe everytime you make it?
    I dont do liver of any kind, sort, or animalagain.
    #30
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