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 Post subject: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:21 pm
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My spaghetti sauce separates and gets watery when I serve it on the spaghetti noodles. I don't rinse my noodles and I do let them sit until well drained. What am I doing wrong??
Jackie


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 3:35 pm
Posts: 1613
Location: La Mirada, CA
Hello Jackie and welcome to Let's Talk.

I have the same problem you do. I don't rinse my spaghetti either and I let it drain well.

This is what I think causes it . . . since the spaghetti cools down while it's draining, the sauce is still nice and hot. I think it has to do with the temperature difference between the two.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:41 am 
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 9:33 am
Posts: 527
Location: West Hills
My husband hates it when the sauce separates. My solution after thirty years of making sauce is to cook it all day. The separation is because not enough moisture has evaporated. I cook it on a heat tamer. Once it comes to a boil I turn it way down and let it cook for 3 or 4 hours. It it gets too thick you can always add water. Make sure you stir it once in a while so the bottom doesn't scorch.

When I make my sauce I always make tons so I can freeze it. I usually use 3 lbs of ground beef, cooked and drained, 3 large cans of tomato puree, 3 large cans of petite dice tomatoes ( not drained) and 2 - 3 Large cans of tomato sauce. ( My husband likes his sauce tomato-y) I use lots of diced onion, lots of minced garlic, 2-3 bay leaves ( depending on size) and all the usual spices.

The trick is to cook it long and slow and don't cover it. You could also add some tomato paste to thicken it up. When I first started cooking spaghetti sauce and it was thin I would stir in a slurry of corn starch and water to thicken it up. It worked, but now I just start my sauce early in the day and let it cook down.

If you're using a crock pot this won't work.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 10:00 am
Posts: 4158
Location: Glendora, Ca
Ditto what Pam said; cook it low/slow and you won't have the problem. It will become a nice consistency with no "watery" issue.

Something else you can do that might help is add some sauce to your just-cooked pasta and toss well. The hot pasta will absorb some of the sauce which can help with any water remaining in the pasta. Sometimes I mix all the pasta in the sauce right away, then dish it out with tongs or a pasta fork, passing around any remaining sauce.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:45 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:38 pm
Posts: 354
Location: Valley Glen CA
There's also the idea of undercooking the spaghetti, draining it, and throwing it into the sauce to finish cooking. Some of the "water" will be absorbed into the pasta as well as giving the spaghetti another layer of flavor.


Last edited by MsMarm on Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 11:55 am
Posts: 1021
You are going to be horrified at what I do. Depending upon the size of the batch, I throw in a few slices of Kraft pasturized processed American cheese. It does make the sauce a little creamier looking but you really can't taste the cheese and boy! does it grab the pasta and the sauce does not get watery. Other than that, cooking the sauce way down helps. I tend to see the water when canned tomatoes are in the sauce. same with crushed tomatoes. Plain old tomato sauce and paste doesn't seem to give you the same trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:21 pm
Posts: 2
Thanks to all of you for your advice. I think the time of cooking is where I am making the error. I use to cook my sauce most of the day. But over the years I have been less patient with it. Putting some sauce in with the pasta right away sounds good too. JS


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:19 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:04 am
Posts: 574
I have had the same separation problem. Recently, however, on the Food Network I saw someone add a slurry (a mixture of flour and water) to their sauce at the end of cooking to tighten it and it didn't separate. I have not tried this but am passing along the infor to all of you anyway.

Last weekend I made a double batch of spaghetti sauce and when I served it the first night it did not separate. When I reheated and served the next day, it separated. That is when I recalled seeing the Food Network demo and will try it the next time I make sauce.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 9:33 am
Posts: 527
Location: West Hills
The problem with the flour and water slurry is that the finished sauce is less red and cloudy. The cornstarch does not change the color of the sauce.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:01 pm
Posts: 252
Location: Oceanside, California
Just my two cents worth. Believe it is primarily the type of tomato - some have more starch and therefore turn into a sauce that holds more water in suspension. I use Pomi brand strained tomatoes and get a marinara that doesn't separate on the plate after cooking a grand total of about 15 minutes time. Pomi also sells chopped tomatoes, and marinara sauce, but only the strained Pomi tomatoes seem to work this way for me. If you are cooking from fresh, use Roma tomatoes, which are classified as cooking tomatoes, rather than slicing tomatoes. But even the Romas can be hit-and-miss.

By the way, I always thought the whole purpose of tomato paste was for thickening a sauce, especially a tomato sauce. Not true?

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:41 am 
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Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 9:33 am
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Location: West Hills
I use tomato paste to thicken my sauce. I also use it for pizza sauce because of it's thickness.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 10:54 am
Posts: 1697
Location: Tarzana
There is no starch in a tomato. Some tomatoes have more liquid in them than others. A Roma is one of the best for this since it is mostly meat with very little seed cavity.

Melinda has discussed this problem more than once. The weight of the sauce can press excess water out of the noodle. Do not overcook the pasta and cook the sauce until it is nice and thick. I cook mine most of the day on a very low flame. I cook the pasta until it is al dente. Do not rinse the pasta because you will rinse off the starch that will hold the sauce to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 10:00 am
Posts: 4158
Location: Glendora, Ca
Guanabanaman wrote:
By the way, I always thought the whole purpose of tomato paste was for thickening a sauce, especially a tomato sauce. Not true?


Chris, I think it's true. Aside from thickening, it adds a more intense tomato flavor, depending on how much you use. For certain dishes, I mix in a bit of tomato paste to add another flavor component but no thickening.


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:58 pm 
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Location: Oceanside, California
No starch. Hmm. Must have been thrown by the word "paste" in tomato paste. Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Spaghetti Sauce gets watery when plated
PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:00 pm
Posts: 57
I also agree with Pam…also, freezing it not only makes it taste a little better, it also seems to thicken up a little more in the process.

For smaller portions though, if you’re following a recipe to the ‘t’ and it specifically calls for a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, you may want to use two 14.5 oz. cans of tomatoes instead, as they contain more tomatoes and less juice the a 28 oz. Again, something to consider if you’re going the specific recipe route.

What I do when I’m making a smaller batch that won’t make it to the freezer, but is meant to be consumed that morning (oops, I meant to say evening…I am so busted), I take whatever size can(s) I’ll be using for that meal and let them drain through a strainer (the kind one uses to sift flour) thoroughly, at least half an hour, shaking and moving them around several times. Once that is separated, I put the juice into a separate pan, season it, and reduce it by half or so, depending on what type of pasta I am using.

I then fry up the tomatoes in a separate pan in some olive oil, adding the seasonings of my choice as they cook on high heat until most of the moisture has been removed. When the tomato juice is at the desired consistency, I add it to the tomatoes and continue cooking it until the pasta is ready.

Regarding the cooked pasta, I drain it thoroughly via a metal strainer with the little legs or a colander, put it in a bowl and immediately add a small amount of sauce to it, just enough to prevent it from sticking together, then guests can add the amount of sauce they choose. If the sauce is on the watery side, I use tongs so each time I add pasta to the serving bowl, I’m also adding starchy water to help thicken it up.

I never wash the pasta first for myself, even if I know ahead of time I will finish cooking it in a pan, unless it's for guests who may not care for the starchier taste like most do.


“I eat a lot of pasta. I cook it Al dente. I really don’t like it that way, I just-can’t –wait!”
(unknown comedienne circa 1992)


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