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The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

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The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:00 am

My homemade sauce recipe.

Started making it at 18, been tweaking and tinkering with it for the last decade and a half. Prolly make it 5-6 times a year so that at all times, like with the Christmas Ale, I have a strategic reserve on hand. Recipe calls for a lot of left over sauce to freeze.

One of the Christmas day traditions in my family is making the sauce on Christmas day. After the kids open presents, get crackin on the sauce, and let the sweet aroma of it fill the house all day. Tradition that passed to my house a couple years back.

----

First things first. Open a good bottle of wine to get the morning started. Like tailgating, making sauce is a perfectly acceptable reason to tie on morning buzz. You should use wine in the sauce recipe, and want to give it a little time to breath. And you’ve got to taste it to make sure it tastes OK. For my sauce? I like to use a sweet Italian wine, usually a nice Chianti. Any cabernet, merlot, or chianti will work though.

You’ll want to get started about 10-11 AM if you want to eat at around 5 PM. You’ll need about 45 minutes to an hour to get it going, then another 45 minutes or so to make and fry the meatballs a couple hours later.

In a large saucepan, brown desired meat in Olive Oil (extra virgin for best results). You can use Italian sausage, pork chops, or western style ribs. The browned meat gives the sauce a lot of flavor. I usually use some fresh Italian sausage and maybe a couple of pork chops, with the bone in. The bone adds flavor. The meat will stay in the sauce for the duration.

When meat is browned, add a generous amount of chopped garlic and let it fry with the meat. The garlic will cook quickly, and the amount you use is up to you. After the garlic cooks a bit, I add about ¾ cup of red wine (see above) and 3 or 4 tablespoons of sugar.

Let the meat/garlic/wine/sugar mix come back to a slow boil and add the following:

Three 29 oz cans of tomato sauce (Contandina, Redpack are the best)
Two 29 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (same brands)
One and a half of the empty 29 oz cans filled with water

Let the sauce come to a light boil and add the following:

Fresh parsley, oregano, grated cheese, crushed red pepper, basil, garlic salt, pepper, and 2-3 bay leaves

It’s crucial that you use fresh spices. Most spices stay good in the cupboard for a couple of years, but they lose flavor over time. If you can use fresh chopped basil and oregano … that’s only going to make the sauce tastier. Fresh parsley is a must. Of course the amounts you add of each of the above ingredients will help determine the taste. I tend to go heavier on the crushed red and the basil, which gives my sauce a slightly sweet and spicy taste that was never prevalent in my parents and grandparents sauces when I was growing up.

You may have to add water through the cooking process if the sauce gets too thick. I usually end up adding another can or two of water as the sauce cooks. Remember, you can always add water to thin…but not take water out to thicken. Also, my recipe calls for more crushed tomatoes than other recipes, which inherently makes the sauce a little thicker to begin with.

The sauce should be of medium consistency and you should let it cook for 4-5 hours. If you leave the lid on, the sauce will thin out. Lid off, and the sauce will thicken. I usually crack the lid for the majority of the time. Stir the sauce at least every 20-30 minutes, making sure to scrape all the goodness off the side and bottom of the saucepan as it builds up.

I like my sauce a little thicker than most and go heavy on the wine, garlic, and crushed red pepper. It’s all a matter of preference and the beauty of making sauce is that you will tweak the recipe a little bit every time you make it.

This will make enough for a feast, as well as enough extra to freeze for 3-4 additional meals. I fry meatballs, and dump them in the sauce about 2-3 hours before it’s done. Here is the homemade meatball recipe:

Buy 1 ½ lbs of the pork/beef/veal ground meat combo that they sell at all grocery stores. Add 4 large pieces of Italian bread. Before adding the bread, quickly soak the bread with water and wring out before breaking up bread pieces into the meat mixture. Add 2 eggs and all the ingredients you used to season the sauce (except wine, sugar, and bay leaves). Heavy on the garlic. Mix everything together and roll into meatballs. Fry in extra virgin olive oil until browned and dump into sauce after they cool.

Feast.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby General » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:20 am

That is almost exactly like my recipe. I will be brewin up a batch on Christmas morning. Since I am a psycho, I am up at 5AM chefin it up with my wine at the ready, Sinatra, Vale, Martin CD's playin. Beautiful.


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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:30 am

General wrote:That is almost exactly like my recipe. I will be brewin up a batch on Christmas morning. Since I am a psycho, I am up at 5AM chefin it up with my wine at the ready, Sinatra, Vale, Martin CD's playin. Beautiful.


:spanky:

Don't get much better than that Dean. Happy Holidays my friend.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby waborat » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:01 am

Pretty close to my mix to, Swerb

The only difference is that I saute up some diced onion, carrot & pancetta beforehand and use chicken stock instead of the water

And yes, you must use fresh herbs
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby FUDU » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:32 pm

I've never even attempted to make sauce in my entire life, I think this thread will inspire me to do so since I have some time off coming up for the holidays.

Thanks Rich.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:51 pm

How come yous don't call it "gravey" ?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:49 pm

B/C we live in nice town.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:00 pm

FUDU wrote:B/C we live in nice town.


Naw, that's an Eye-talian thing.

Didn't cha ever see Goodfellas?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:13 pm

Liota calls it sauce the whole time, no?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:24 pm

FUDU wrote:Liota calls it sauce the whole time, no?


Yeah, yer right.

What ganster movie am I thinking of ?


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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:33 pm

The lady narrating sounded like Liota's wife in Good Fellas, creepy.

LMAO, was that dude in the background wearing a Laura jersey?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:34 pm

JB wrote:
FUDU wrote:Liota calls it sauce the whole time, no?


Yeah, yer right.

What ganster movie am I thinking of ?



Godfather, Clemenza, the scene in the kitchen where he's teaching Michael how to make the gravy, while Sonny is at the dinner table ordering the hit on Paulie.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby FUDU » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:37 pm

That took you longer than I expected Rich.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby peeker643 » Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:21 pm

Outstanding Rich.

I went and got the ingredients the day you posted it, made it this morning. The chianti is apparently quite evaporative since the 3/4 cup was all I used in the sauce and the bottle is about dead. Probably the kids.

Lisa's dad is 100% dago.

He gave me a wink and a nod after he had a couple helpings. There's no better seal of approval except when he asked Lisa for some to take home. He wouldn't give me that satisfaction. ;-) ;) :wink:

Ferrara's grated romano on top was nice as well.

That place looked like Goodfellas yesterday afternoon.

Seriously though, thanks for posting it.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:37 am

Peeks, glad it turned out good for you brotha.

Had a good time making the sauce today as well. Consumed enough pasta, meatballs, and Christmas Ale today to kill weaker men.

Gotta love the holidays,
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby waborat » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:23 pm

Pecorino Romano is the only chiz to touch my "gravy"
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Bayou Tribe » Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:00 pm

Bringing this one back from the dead.

I'm off all week, and the wife wanted spaghetti, so I dug this up and went at it today. Still cooking as we speak, a little light, but dayum!!! I'm going to leave it half covered to thicken, and this should be right on the money. Great stuff, Rich. Thanks.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby aoxo1 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:04 pm

Whipped up some this past Sunday. Was good then. Was even better today when I had some of the first leftovers.

This is good enough to skip the pasta and just eat with a slice of Italian bread for soaking up the sauce, with plenty of meat.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby View from 171 » Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:14 am

Fresh parsley, oregano, grated cheese, crushed red pepper, basil, garlic salt, pepper, and 2-3 bay leaves


Gonna give this a try this weekend. Do you a rough guess as to how much you put in (just to get me headed in the right direction)?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Thu Oct 08, 2009 1:39 pm

View from 171 wrote:
Fresh parsley, oregano, grated cheese, crushed red pepper, basil, garlic salt, pepper, and 2-3 bay leaves


Gonna give this a try this weekend. Do you a rough guess as to how much you put in (just to get me headed in the right direction)?

171, the key is to add a little of each to start, and then ... through tasting the sauce all day as it festers, and applying your personal taste preferences (I like the sweet & spicy mix of going a little heavier on the basil and the crushed red) ... you add more of what you want as you go to really craft the personality of your sauce over the course of the day.

That's the beauty of making sauce. No one's tastes the same. Growing up eating sauce every Sunday, everyone in my family that made the sauce, it had it's own taste. My grandpa ... one of those guys that puts everything in the cupboards in there. All different kinds of meats, cocoa powder, all kinds of crazy shit. Very complex. My gramma? Much more basic, less to it ... the taste of the tomatoes was what overpowered. My moms, kinda in the middle. Mine is more crafted after my stepdads. Heavy on the wine, garlic, basil, red pepper. That recipe I posted above ... nothing but a template to get you pointed in the right direction.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby View from 171 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:53 pm

Swerb - thanks. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby General » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:46 am

Rich...never thought of sauce "festering". I personally prefer simmering my sauce, festering conjures up images of old "sliding stawberries" from my diamond days.

Just sayin'
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:56 pm

Holy crap Rich that is one tasty sauce. Made it based on your template, made a minor addition of some celery seed. That crushed red does have a nice lil tang to it, next time I will prolly put a little less, by my second helping I was getting a lil heat goin on. Added the Romano warboat called for. Just a damn tasty sauce, and will be hard to go back to store bought next year... Prolly be that long to run through it; had to switch to an even bigger pot to fit all that goodness.

Also aoxo perfect call on just dipping some bread into that "festering" pot, between the family and my friends we could have dinged that pot with bread alone.

YUMMY!
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Straz20 » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:05 am

Trying this tomorrow. Cannot wait. I think that it is mostly because of the wine though.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Larvell Blanks » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:07 pm

Had to dig this one up. We had family over for our son's 2nd birthday and thought I'd give it a go. Nothin but rave reviews, especially from my "foodie" brother in law. Left the lid off most of the day and just let it get as thick as possible. Worst part is there was only enough left for one more meal this week so I have nothing to freeze. Guess I'll just have to make another batch closer to the holidays.

Thanks for the recipe Swerb.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby peeker643 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:08 pm

Larvell Blanks wrote:Had to dig this one up. We had family over for our son's 2nd birthday and thought I'd give it a go. Nothin but rave reviews, especially from my "foodie" brother in law. Left the lid off most of the day and just let it get as thick as possible. Worst part is there was only enough left for one more meal this week so I have nothing to freeze. Guess I'll just have to make another batch closer to the holidays.

Thanks for the recipe Swerb.



Ahh yes... an oldie but a great one. And as you make it your own it gts even better with your pinch of this and addition of that.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:46 pm

Also you will learn to tweak it in different directions. The other day I was staring at a beef shoulder roast in my fridge. I decided to grab a couple cans of diced tomatoes, most of the seasonings from the above recipe, and let that sheet cook till that piece of meat was fork tender. Cook some pasta and throw that thick sauce on top of the pasta.


SOOOOOO GOOD!
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:45 pm

Just made a batch myself a couple weekends ago.

Nothing better than making sauce on a fall Saturday on the north coast rocking the day buzz with college football on in the background all day.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:21 pm

bump, im making it right now... Why not.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Larvell Blanks » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:10 am

<------jealous of ^

It's gonna be a couple more weekends before I make this again. Going through withdrawl.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:38 pm

Had a pasta and Italian Sausage feast day 1. Then used the sauce and made some killer manicotti day 2. Have a bit left in the freezer.

On this go around I tweeked a bit by going 3 cans crushed, I'm a thick sauce diva, and went half brown sugar. Yum, but I could have used a bit more crushed red pepper. However when you're going mass market on a birthday sometimes you have to vanilla some aspects. Huh, vanilla extract... :) :clap:
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby peeker643 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:53 pm

Orenthal wrote:Had a pasta and Italian Sausage feast day 1. Then used the sauce and made some killer manicotti day 2. Have a bit left in the freezer.

On this go around I tweeked a bit by going 3 cans crushed, I'm a thick sauce diva, and went half brown sugar. Yum, but I could have used a bit more crushed red pepper. However when you're going mass market on a birthday sometimes you have to vanilla some aspects. Huh, vanilla extract... :) :clap:



3 cans crushed and 3 cans sauce or replacing a sauce with a crushed? Don't leave out the details man. Not with this stuff. ;-) ;) :wink:
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Mon Oct 25, 2010 1:31 pm

3 Crushed to 2 Sauce...
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby comish » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:31 pm

Having my 4th go at this Sunday. Can't wait. Asked my wife what she would like for her B-Day dinner...this was the winner.

Might give the brown sugar a try this time around...I also might try some crushed, although it's so good already why mess with it?

Between the inevitable wine I'll start drinking early, and the X-Mas Ale I will hammer for the big game....I'm just hoping I make it to the Birthday cake.

Thanks again, Swerb...sauce is becoming a family staple.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:54 pm

I've come to believe that Molasses, the brown in brown sugar, can be added to just about anything to make it better...
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Erie Warrior » Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:43 pm

Been cooking all day, and picked up a few pointers from the old man:

If your sauce is too tomatoey (too acidic)- try some more parmesan cheese when it is done cooking. Or as my Dad described it, this is a Sicilian sauce, so it will be lighter (fresh spices and no tomato paste) so it will be more tomatoey by nature. Add some butter at the end, the milk fat will help to temper the acid. Worked amazingly for my batch.

Finely chopped onion is an excellent addition as well. It was part of a stuffed shells feast, so I'll put the recipe up if it turns out well.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Erie Warrior » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:02 pm

Stuffed Shells:

Jumbo Shells- cooked al dente

Stuffing-
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 parmesan
1 egg
basil
oregano
salt
pepper
garlic
Chopped spinach- about 1/3 of a box
finely chopped mushrooms- sauteed in olive oil and garlic

Mix the stuffing ingredients well, fill shells
Add a thin layer of sauce to a pan, add stuffed shells, top with remaining sauce. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, add some shredded mozzarella and place back in the oven long enough to melt the cheese.

Makes enough for 4, turned out really well.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:36 pm

the type of canned tomatoes makes a huge difference. Contedina will give you a bitter sauce you have to cut with sugar while Dei Fratelli is awesome as is.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Ziner » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:45 pm

jb wrote:the type of canned tomatoes makes a huge difference. Contedina will give you a bitter sauce you have to cut with sugar while Dei Fratelli is awesome as is.


San Marzano... end of discussion.

Can't find them? Look harder.

Muir Glen whole peeled are next best.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:45 pm

Ziner wrote:
jb wrote:the type of canned tomatoes makes a huge difference. Contedina will give you a bitter sauce you have to cut with sugar while Dei Fratelli is awesome as is.


San Marzano... end of discussion.

Can't find them? Look harder.

Muir Glen whole peeled are next best.

Bingo.

Someone turned me on to the San Marzano a couple years ago and I never looked back. Like $4.49 a can vs $1.99 for Dei Fraetelli, Rienzi, or Contandina ... but worth every penny.

Used to have to go to the specialty paizan grocery store to get em, now Heinens carrys em. :thumb up:

One day wanna make the sauce with freshens from someone's garden.

It's all about the tomatoes.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:17 pm

I'd take your word for it, but my mother in law wouldn't talk to me ever again.

BTW - If you can't find an italian food item in Mahoning county, it don't exist.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby mattvan1 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:37 pm

jb wrote:I'd take your word for it, but my mother in law wouldn't talk to me ever again.

BTW - If you can't find an italian food item in Mahoning county, it don't exist.


Just a note for clarity (maybe not needed but just in case....)

San Marzano is a type of tomato (and the region where grown) not the brand. They are supposed to be sweeter and less acidic than other types of plum tomatoes.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:44 pm

"When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience leaves with money and the man with money leaves with experience."
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby swerb » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:21 pm

Orenthal wrote:http://www.gustgallucci.com/


Just ordered a case of these:

GALLUCCI'S SAN MARZANO TOMATOES 12 x 28 OZ -CASE- $49.39

Thanks for the link OJ.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Orenthal » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:55 pm

swerb wrote:
Orenthal wrote:http://www.gustgallucci.com/


Just ordered a case of these:

GALLUCCI'S SAN MARZANO TOMATOES 12 x 28 OZ -CASE- $49.39

Thanks for the link OJ.


Let me know how they are... I almost live at that place when working anywhere that takes me past 65th and Euclid. Awesome lunch counter. Have bought many different items from the store, and while a bit more $$$ then your typical grocery store, worth the extra cost.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:42 pm

Found them. $ 4 per can tomato puree canned in Jersey?

Call me a skeptic.

:pop:
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jb » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:49 pm

mattvan1 wrote:
jb wrote:I'd take your word for it, but my mother in law wouldn't talk to me ever again.

BTW - If you can't find an italian food item in Mahoning county, it don't exist.


Just a note for clarity (maybe not needed but just in case....)

San Marzano is a type of tomato (and the region where grown) not the brand. They are supposed to be sweeter and less acidic than other types of plum tomatoes.



OK, I get that.
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby Loo » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:13 pm

Swerb,

I read this when you first posted it and thought, "Whatever, he makes a good sauce."

But after reading how passionate you are about the creativity and design that goes into it perfecting and personalizing your own sauce, you've inspired me to create my own batch (eventually, when time permits).

Thanks, I look forward to the challenge (I'm a college kid...cooking anything not on the grill is a challenge, but here we go!).

I feel like "Betty" from the Lou Holtz commercial (You inspire me! Three weeks!).

Loo
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby jclvd_23 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:32 pm

With all of the love this has been getting, I can't wait any longer to give it a go, so I figured this weekend is as good a time as any.

Just have one quick question for the experts on this board. I've never cooked with a chianti before, how much does quality matter? Would an $8 bottle suffice, or do I need to throw a little more money towards it?
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Re: The Recipe That Will Change Your Life

Unread postby peeker643 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:36 pm

jclvd_23 wrote:With all of the love this has been getting, I can't wait any longer to give it a go, so I figured this weekend is as good a time as any.

Just have one quick question for the experts on this board. I've never cooked with a chianti before, how much does quality matter? Would an $8 bottle suffice, or do I need to throw a little more money towards it?


$10 or so is fine. It's a type of taste and while more expensive may be better I think you're fine with $8-$12 since you're using just a cup or so anyway.

FYI- Merlot works well also if you have that at home or can more easily find it.
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