Making a Great Spaghetti Sauce

karadekoolaid

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1) Reduction of water when applied to pasta.
2) The sauce's ability to adhere to pasta noodles.
3) The retention of flavors in good melding when the sauce is heated and cooked without dissipation or flattening.
4) No sugar or forced sweetening.
5) No overkill with tomato paste or canned tomato sauce.
6) No over-addition of oils.
7) Freshness of ingredients.
8) No loss of size of ingredients with none being totally pureed into the sauce.
9) A suggestiveness of the flavor of the sauce for other food items, like meats, especially.
Firstly, I should state that I NEVER buy spaghetti sauce - at least not for my family´s consumption. Never, ever.
It´s the easiest thing in the world to make - and I´m assuming we´re talking a tomato sauce for pasta here.
As for the first point - yes, I don´t want my pasta swimming in water, although the pasta will absorb extra liquid after plating. The sauce will adhere to the pasta, depending two factors, IMHO. Firstly, the amount of oil used in the sauce. Too much oil, slippery slidy pasta. Secondly, however, a chunky sauce will slip off spaghetti, but will stick in conchiglie, penne, rigatoni, etc. So the right sauce for the right pasta. The third point is a question of how well the sauce was put together. In disagree with "no sugar" because I disagree with rigid rules in cooking. Sometimes, your tomatoes may seem fine, but they need a touch of sweetness because actually, they´re a bit bitter. Not much, but a little. Number 5 - I never use either. My tomato sauce is made with fresh or canned tomatoes, garlic, herbs and olive oil, and I agree - you don´t want to go crazy with the oil, but you do need to be generous. Fresh ingredients - I have to admit, I prefer using fresh tomatoes than tinned. To obtain the texture I want, I mash them a bit with a potato masher, rather than turning them into a soup with the blender. However, I might choose to make a sauce with skinned & cored tomatoes, just for flavour and aesthetic reasons.
As for whether the sauce is suitable for other dishes, I don´t think that comes into the equation. If you´re making a sauce for pasta, then it´s for pasta. If it fortuitously matches with another ingredient, great, but it´s not a pre-requisite for a good pasta sauce.
 

NailBat

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The sauce will adhere to the pasta, depending two factors, IMHO. Firstly, the amount of oil used in the sauce. Too much oil, slippery slidy pasta. Secondly, however, a chunky sauce will slip off spaghetti, but will stick in conchiglie, penne, rigatoni, etc. So the right sauce for the right pasta.

Another very important factor in getting sauce to adhere to pasta is proper use of the starchy pasta water. It's one of those reasons why you very often hear that you should reserve some of the pasta water when making a sauce. Pasta water is, essentially, a very thin slurry. By "finishing the pasta in the sauce", along with this starchy water, you boil away that water and the starch that's left behind will help "glue" the sauce to the pasta.

This isn't such a big deal for all-day simmered sauces though, as those are usually thick enough to have no trouble sticking to pasta.
 

flyinglentris

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I've been cooking a big batch of spaghetti sauce all morning. And hopefully, I will have spaghetti for today's meal, later today.

I learned a new term for dicing up and preparing tomato for sauces, - concasse.

Concasse: To chop up ingredients (vegetables mostly) roughly. For tomatoes, concasse includes skinning and removing seeds, but chopped more to specific dimensions (less roughly).
 

JAS_OH1

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i haven't bought ketchup for over 15 years. I am fine with it mixed with horseradish for a shrimp dip, but nothing else. I don't want the stuff even on fries.
I like ketchup on burgers. I like my fries/chips either with salt or salt/malt vinegar (if eating them with beer-battered fish).
 
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