I made a spaghetti sauce the other night – the night in NYC when we were all preparing for our apartments to be picked up and blown away by Hurricane Irene, Wizard of Oz style. We were spared the flying lamp posts and in the end, the hype was far more exiting than the reality, but it gave an excuse to gather with friends and weather the apocalypse with a full belly.
The reviews for the sauce were strong. My Dad’s been making this sauce since I was old enough to smear it on the kitchen wall and I think its fair to say it was the most requested Sunday night dinner at the Madden home. It’s very easy to make a bad pasta sauce, but it’s also very easy to make an outstanding one if you know these “tricks”…
The Fool-Proof Way To Guarantee An Outstanding Pasta Sauce
- Use more garlic and onion than you think you need: You almost can not have too much, but you can definitely have too little.
- Let the onion and garlic partially caramelize: …before the tomatoes and other stuff is added. In fact, it’s best if you let ALL the vegs sautee a bit before the “wet” gets added, but add the onion and garlic first to the pan to give them the most time.
- Sweetness is key to success: Tomatoes are acidic so some sweet is critical to balance this. It’s why the caramelization of the onions is so important, and why carrots are added and why I strongly advice adding some table sugar. If when you taste the sauce, you still taste the tomato’s acidity, add a touch more sugar.
- More whole tomatoes, less crushed, less tomato paste: If you go too heavy on the tinned “crushed” tomatoes, tomato “sauce” or paste, it will taste store-bought. It should be 80% whole tomatoes (from a tin with juice) and 20% crushed or paste.
- Taste it: Frequently as you make it, and see what it still needs. Often it will be lacking sugar or salt.
- Be sure there is enough salt
- Taste it: I know I already said this, but it is the most important one on the list. If you’ve not tasted it at least 5 times before you serve it, go back and taste it.
- It must simmer and sit: The sitting part on the stove (with heat off) is really key to allow the flavors to blend and infuse and whole dish.
Use more than you think.
These add so much flavor and sweetness.
Any tricks you’ve found to making a great pasta sauce? Your favorite pasta toppings?
And congrats to the two winners of the Chobani Greek Yogurt giveaway! Stephanie F. and Michelle H.
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