Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quick Fix for Sucky Sauce!

Dear Tricia, If I tried to be ambitious and make my own pasta sauce, and it came out too thin, what can I do to fix it?

In need of a quick fix?  You've come to the right lady.  Good skills in the kitchen are all about improvising, and you can quote me on that.  (um... can someone please quote me on that?  And copyright it?  Thank you.)

If your sauce is cream based, you're in luck because you can just keep cooking it.  Don't boil the living daylights out of it, but keep simmering it on low-medium heat (that's like a diet boiling) until it thickens up.  Not working fast enough for you?  Add some grated cheese and stir it in until it melts.  That usually does the trick in a pinch.  A quick trick for your sucky sauce pinch, if you will.  Say that three times fast.  Now do it after 2 margaritas.  And... go!

If you've made something non cream based like marinara or a wine sauce, just let it reduce some more.  Reducing means you're cooking it down to evaporate some of the liquid out of it.  This also helps concentrate flavor.  However, if you're doing this to a giant stock pot full of 2 gallons of marinara sauce, you're going to need to reduce it for like 2 weeks to get it down.  First of all, keep the lid off.  Otherwise the condensation will stick on the lid, drip down back into the sauce and contribute to a never ending cycle of watery disappointment.  Then add tomato paste about a tablespoon at a time, and stir.  This is going to alter the flavor a little- make sure you adjust with salt and pepper. Continue to let it simmer and you should be good to go.  Still on the thin side?  Add some grated parmesan as a last resort.  Your lactose intolerant friends are going to get parmesan, and dammit they will like it!

For the sauce disaster prone- keep a roux on hand.  Here's what to do:

In a sauce pan, melt half a stick of butter over medium heat.  When it's melted, start adding flour and stirring until it looks like wet sand.  This shouldn't be more than 1/2 cup of flour or so. 
Once it looks like wet sand, keep stirring until the roux turns a golden brown.  You'll start to smell it cooking, and that's a good thing.  Anything less than golden brown will make a sauce taste like paper mache.  Gross city.

Keep this mixture in an airtight container in your fridge.  Anytime you want to thicken a sauce, just add it, a tablespoon at a time, to sauce on the stove and let it simmer.  Future sucky sauce pinches = resolved!

Now can we take a minute to revel in the grossness of the advertisement above?  Convenient, yes.  Haunting?  Also yes.


D E Garrett said...

Come on Tricia, you are going to be a published writer, a star, a somebody, a notorious drunk apparently too.

Copywrite? NO, copyright.

As in Copyright 2011, Tricia Lewis and I'll kick your ass if you use this and that goes for you too Bitchin' Kitchen.

Tricia Lewis, author said...

Thanks for the spellcheck and stick ups against Bitchin' Kitchen!