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Old April 20, 2007   #16
shelleybean
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I like a tangy flavor and when I use straight tomatoes, fresh or canned, I always add a little bit of sugar (or even Splenda) to cut the acidity of the tomato a bit and give it a little tang. A little splash of balsamic vinegar or some dry red wine is also nice. If you use dried herbs, add them early. If using fresh herbs, don't add them until the very end. I also like mine a little spicy and used to use hot sausages or some cayenne but now that I have two little kids eating the sauce with us, that's on hold for a while. I would think the porcini mushrooms would provide an earthy sort of flavor, which sounds good to me.
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Old April 20, 2007   #17
montanamato
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I think a good splash of dry wine with a small pinch of sugar and lots of basil is mandatory....Also use paste tomatoes...They give very good flavor cooked...It is not just the meatiness as I have made sauce from meaty , sweeter heart types and the sauces and salsa were not anything like a sauce made with an acidic or paste tomato...Try adding more spice again in the final 1/2 hour of cooking...I like Basil as the main, but use plenty of Oregano, parsley and thyme too... Simmer a few dried peppers along with the sauce if desired.

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Old April 20, 2007   #18
feldon30
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Great advice, thanks!!
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Old April 20, 2007   #19
Zana
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Try oven roasting garlic before adding it to sauce. It will give it a smokey-sweet flavour. Fire-roasting peppers before adding them to pasta/tomato sauce is always good for adding a punch of flavour. If you're adding garlic while sauteing onions, add nearer the end so that they don't become burnt/bitter. Sometimes a dash of cumin or sumac will kick up the sauce a bit. Browning any meat before adding it to the sauce is usually good for some extra flavour too.
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Old April 21, 2007   #20
mresseguie
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Feldon,

Hi. I like my sauces a little on the spicy side, too. I often add a pepper that I buy in the Mexican section of the supermarket. I buy it by the can. It is Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I like this not just for the little kick, but also for the smoky flavor it imparts.

I may also use cilantro in my sauces (with or without the above item). I don't think of the cilantro as being spicy, but it adds a little something extra that I really enjoy.

Just my two bits.

Good luck.

Michael
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Old May 2, 2007   #21
Tormato
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Feldon,

Aunt Gertie's Gold makes an "interesting" sauce.

To me, any home cooked sauce tastes much better the next day.

And, just keep adding to the pot, until you get it to the way you like it.

Gary
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Old May 3, 2007   #22
johno
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I think Zana touched on something important. Saute a medium sized onion until almost clear, then add some garlic... The onion adds richness. Also, I like to use diced tomatoes. I put them in next, then cook it down further. I put tomato sauce in last. I think slow cooking this way makes a better sauce.
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Old May 3, 2007   #23
Granny
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Feldon, one of the "secrets" is to add your herbs just a few minutes before you serve up. Tenish or so. Especially if you are using dried herbs. Long cooking destroys the flavor. You can also try adding your herbs in two batches - half at the usual time with the tomatoes, the other half about 10 minutes before you are going to serve.

Also, the tomato product that you use does make a huge difference.
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Old May 3, 2007   #24
tjg911
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Fried sweet peppers, any variety, adds a great flavor to sauce. I have 1" pieces frozen from last summer that I defrost, chop and sauté in olive oil. Minced onions will sweeten the sauce, I don't eat sugar by choice but I bet that'd really change the flavor!
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Crushed fennel seeds also add a spicy licorice flavor, cook with the peppers and onions.
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I usually crush garlic and fry it with the peppers/onions BUT I now think that adding the crushed garlic when the sauce is done really allows the garlic to remain strong and distinct, I like that. Frying the garlic removes the volatile oils and makes it too mild. I've heard that in Italy they use some garlic but prefer to not have it over power the food, that surprised me.
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And lastly, add red wine when the sauce is just about done. I use Burgundy, about 4 oz for a 28 oz can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes.
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I use bay leaf, oregano, basil (all dried) but without peppers, raw garlic vs cooked and red wine my sauce was missing something too.
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OH, btw, I know this sounds crazy but use 1 piece of clove per 28 oz can of tomatoes. The same clove used to stud a baked ham, the flavor is amazing! Now I just told the world the real secret!
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Old May 3, 2007   #25
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I've usally added all the same ingredients that have been mention, to include the whole clove or two depending on the size of the pot. A dash of cinnamon is a must. Just a dash and nothing more, LOL. I used to add a little sugar but now I add a few pieces of chocolate. These off the wall additions give the sauce a little depth that you didn't know you were missing.
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Old May 3, 2007   #26
Zana
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I've got to admit that I've tried the addition of chocolate too....and its definitely a different and rich taste...especially if using a dark bittersweet chocolate. Purists might run or shriek in horror, but it definitely adds a je ne sais pas quoi to the mix.
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Old May 3, 2007   #27
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I am taking some serious notes from this thread, including the au Cincinnati suggestion of adding chocolate.
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Old May 4, 2007   #28
Granny
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I haven't tried chocolate in sphagetti sauce, but it is a pretty common Mexican addition to tomato. The "secret" to several chili-type dishes.
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Old July 30, 2007   #29
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Marinara Sauce

This is great sauce. I've typed it from the cookbook Garlic Garlic Garlic. I used 56 ounces of fresh heirloom/OP tomatoes instead of canned Italian plums. I blanched the tomatoes, removed skins, cut them in half, squeezed out seeds and strained them from the juice and added juice back to tomatoes. If it takes you more than a few days to try this recipe, you will regret it once you try it. :-)

Makes 2 Quarts

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably very fruity
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 plump garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 large carrot, scraped and shredded
2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, crushed, with their juice
2 teaspoons dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed dried red chilies
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper [cayenne]
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a large, heavy non-reactive saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots, and saute, stirring often, until carrots are soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, chilies and cayenne. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper and baking soda. Blend thoroughly and serve [over your favorite pasta or mix pasta into sauce when finished]. Sauce freezes well so you may want to split it up if batch makes to much for one meal.
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Old March 18, 2008   #30
JimmyWu
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The Meat Sauce I make at work is as follows...

-More onion and garlic than you would think to use
-Lots of herbs...Basil,Oregano,Parsley,Thyme
-S&P
-A little Worcestershire,Cumin,Coriander
-2 hours of simmer time to let it thicken up
-Season early... during...and close to finish
-Taste often
-Sugar near the end

The Marinara is...

-Lots of fresh Basil
-Much more Garlic
-S&P
-Sugar near the end
-Simmered an hour tops, to keep the toms chunky

-Jimmy
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