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Paul Massell

I have a core for sauce and then build around that with what is available


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Joined: Dec 31, 1969

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Posted to Thread #30084 at 9:55 pm on Jan 10, 2018

This is how I learned : via observation, not a written recipe and then have adapted and experimented over the years for my own preferences. At the time I thought my dad was a bit of an irreverent jerk for saying that his sauce was better than my grandmother's. But it WAS really good and one thing that I did take from that was his going off recipe and making it his own. More than anything that I make in the kitchen, "Sauce" my grandmother called it "gravy" is an important experience for me. It is memories and connection and my own contribution to it, to share with my family. None of my kids have shown interest in making sauce but I bet in the future they will remember all the times I got up early and spent all day on one, and then give it a try themselves...

I'll use what is available for meats and vegetables. Generally use mild peppers including bell peppers but will use others. I have gone to the wild side and made a hot pepper (Italian) sauce but this is an exception.

Do you remember the scene in Goodfellas where he is slicing the garlic with a razor blade? In that scene the onion guy is told and then told again, not to use too many onions. I laugh at that as I feel like this is some eternal debate and I'm on the "lots of onions" side. I use a lot of onions proportionally but not for texture. They'll be all but unnoticeable by time I'm done with them. Generally I tend to have a very high proportion of onions and peppers but not big chunks. I want them broken down and saucy and I think you get a lot of flavor that way. Tomato is the base but for me, the sauce gets better the higher the proportion of peppers. If I want more texture like a chunky sauce I'll add additional tomato, onion and peppers later in the process specifically for this purpose using the Goldilocks Principle, to cook long enough to get properly pleasant for a sauce. (Just Right) Not too mushy but not too firm to be crunchy.

Spices again you can customize your core to your own tastes. But for me this is generally basil forward and again probably use more black pepper than most with some oregano and garlic in the background. For an all day sauce the oregano and garlic will be added early and not re-seasoned in later layers. If I'm adding meatballs, oregano will be more prominent in them, again with black pepper.


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