Cooking marinara sauce

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Joined Aug 25, 2004
Hello,

I have found many recipes for cooking marinara sauce (crushed tomatoes, salt, garlic, parsley and olive oil). I have also tried using whole tomatoes blended together. The problem I have is that after cooking in a steel pan for 10-20 minutes, the tomatoes still taste canned and extremely tart. How can I smooth out the taste of the tomatoes as I get in the restaurants?

The brand of tomatoes is Contadina from Costco. (I know this maybe a problem, but I've tried others as well and they taste the same)

Any other ways to cook it would be helpful. I saw once at a restaurant the same ingredients cooked in a similar fashion, but their tomatoes started off much darker it seemed and they only cooked in a pan for about 3 minutes, and it still tasted much better than mine.

Thanks!
 
9,209
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
You could try a non-reactive pot such as an enameled one. However, I think it may also be your tomatoes. Some of them have tinny flavor if the can is not coated inside.

Good luck!
Mezzaluna
 

phatch

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The Glen Muir brand of canned tomatoes is very good. And pricey.

Phil
 
958
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Joined Aug 15, 2004
I agree. Glen Muir may sound, I don't know, Irish. And not to cast dispersion on the Irish, but Glen Muir makes some awesome Italian tomato sauce.

BTW: their pizza sauce is incomparable, IMHO.

deltadoc
 
330
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Joined Dec 23, 2003
Since steel sauce pans are pretty much unheard of, I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you're using stainless steel, which is non-reactive and suitable for your needs.

Too many brands of crushed tomatoes add citric acid and/or other preservatives. Although Contadina makes one of the best pastes, I don't have a whole lot of faith in their crushed tomatoes. And I've had Muir Glen enough times to tell you that if tart's not your thing (it's not mine) Muir Glen is not your best bet.

One (or all) of these solutions will solve your problem (guaranteed :) )

1. Get a brand of tomatoes without any additives (Cento).
2. Cook your tomatoes longer than 20 minutes. Longer cooking = sweeter but... longer cooking = duller flavor, so you don't want to cook them forever.
3. Go with the classic crushed tomato/paste combo for sauce.
4. Add a little sugar.
 
818
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Joined Oct 13, 2001
I would add some finely diced carrot,green bell pepper and some butter with the olive oil.This realy cuts the acidity of tomatoes and smoothes out the sauce!I know the carrot and bell pepper are not traditional but I did pick this up a long time ago from a very popular Italian joint in L.A. which was famouse for there sauce.I know true Italians will deny the butter(my first wife was Italian) but trust me ,it makes it come together!Keep cookin,Doug..............
 
330
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I'm not so sure about "true" Italians denying butter in tomato sauce. In certain parts of Italy, absolutely. I'm pretty sure there are regions that are okay with it, though.
 
2
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Joined Aug 25, 2004
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Unfortunately, I can't find many other brands of crushed tomatoes here so I will have to try the other suggestions of putting sugar in and tomato paste.

By the way, I made a batch before I received these emails and I put in a little bit of sugar and some whipping cream. It didn't taste bad, still a bit tart and I cooked it on medium high for about 20 minutes. I had some extra and I ate it the next day as a leftover and it actually tasted better for some reason. Maybe the sweetness of the onions soaked into the sauce more.

I have a stainless steel pan by the way with a copper bottom.

Thanks!
 

phatch

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Warning: I am about to admit to Culinary Heresy

A pinch of baking soda will neutralize the tartness. But use very small amounts as it is also easy to ruin it completely.

Yes, I've done it before. I'm guilty.

Phil
 
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Joined Mar 3, 2002
I agree with the carrots for sweetness and take off the edge! I use Chef Style Diced Tomatoes by Roseli. I get them from US Foods, the main ingredient is plum tomatoes....very smooth! Awesome!
BK
 
818
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Joined Oct 13, 2001
phatch,I reckon its your time for the spanish(or italian) inquisition.But just a small pinch of it as you say for we have learned from the other heratics!
Yes it works.Doug...................
 
1,310
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Joined Dec 4, 2001
I don't know if you have access to a good Italian deli but if you do, buy your canned tomatoes there and use the whole tomatoes. They taste better in my opinion and are easy (if a bit messy) to crush in your hands.

Incidentally, Muir Glen is Scottish, not Irish. It's a bit of a contradiction too because Muir = Moor as in desolate open space (think Jane Austin) and Glen = Valley. But who cares right?

Jock
 

phatch

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Might have been named after somebody with the name of Muir?

Phil
 
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I would use some diced tromatoes and you should always throw in a quarter of a potato. As soon as that potato breaks in half with a fork 15-20 min. your gravy is dine. :cool:
 

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