Spaghetti sauce is a common Italian dish that has grown in popularity around the world. Usable with any type of pasta, this sauce is versatile, allowing the addition of meats or seafoods to alter the flavor, as well as permitting a wide range of spices to be used. This makes spaghetti sauce very easy to work with and make unique to your cooking style.
Basic Ingredients for Spaghetti Sauce:
Optional Ingredients for Spaghetti Sauce:
Tomato Paste (For Thickening)
Tomatoes and meat products should be cooked separately, then combined when the tomatoes have boiled down to a thicker consistency. It is suggested that part of the herbs be cooked with the meat, as this will enhance the flavor of any meats that you do use.
Depending on what short cuts you want, spaghetti sauce can take anywhere from 1 hour to 8+ hours to prepare. Using tomato paste or sauce from a can can dramatically lower the amount of time that you need to spend in the kitchen, but can significantly alter the fresh flavor of homemade sauce.
Cooking temperature makes a large difference in the taste of spaghetti sauce. Meat and vegetables – with the exception of the tomatoes – should be cooked at a high heat to unlock the various flavors. The tomatoes should be simmered at a low heat to prevent scorching or burning. As the sauce thickens and all of the ingredients are combined, the sauce should mature at a low heat. As the sauce thickens, the lower heat will prevent it from sticking to the pot and burning. While moderate heat can be used when the tomatoes are cooking down initially, you should watch your sauce extremely carefully.
A key aspect in having a good spaghetti sauce is making the efforts to consistently keep an eye on how the sauce is maturing. A lot of the spices used in spaghetti sauce are done by taste, with spices being added in small amounts while the sauce simmers. Unlike many recipes, this flexibility can be difficult for many to pick up, as it is extremely easy to add too many spices to the sauce, which can result in your sauce tasting bitter or too strong.
In addition to this, patience is key. While adding tomato paste can help thicken your sauce quicker, it will change the flavor of your sauce. You will need to let the sauce thicken naturally, which tends to take time, or spice your sauce knowing you will be adding tomato paste to assist in the thickening process.