The Red Sauce Secret

 By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos         

I LOVE making sauces.  In fact, they are one of my favorite food items to cook, and from an early age.

Every Friday growing up, I used to watch my mom buy bones, vegetables, herbs and spices.

She would brown the bones and then place the right amount of ingredients in her gigantic stock pot and simmer the stock all day. She never measured the quantities of the ingredients – she just knew.

On Saturday, she’d take the now reduced stock and make her sauces depending on what she would roast on Sunday for our meal.

Sunday was actually the only day we would eat a good roast or any other good piece of meat.

I still remember that full flavor and aroma that penetrated our home.

Fast forward now to the time I was a young married man with children. 

When our kids were small I would follow my mother’s weekend sauce cooking tradition, even though my family would also eat meat during the week.

So, what’s the magic to making a good sauce?

Let’s start from the beginning.

There are 5 basic sauces in the classic culinary world.  These are called the foundation or “mother” sauces.

These include:

  • Hollandaise (emulsified sauce with egg yolks and clarified butter)
  • Veloute (thickened stock)
  • Bechamel (thickened sauce with milk and roux)
  • Sauce Espagnole (Basic Brown Sauce)
  • Sauce Tomato (Tomato or Red Sauce)

Now, one of the most popular sauces to make at home is the red sauce. 

It is used for many dishes but it is essential for making a good pizza.

If you have ever made your own red sauce then you know it can be either too acidic or too bland and watery. 

So how to make it perfectly? 

Here are some simple steps: 

  • If using meat (bones are great), brown it very well first. The caramelizing provides a great roasted flavor.
  • If using vegetables only, roast or brown them as well including the tomatoes and remember to add garlic.
  • Use half fresh and half canned tomatoes and add a little tomato paste. The blending of these flavors and ingredients provide a great balance of acidity and sweetness.
  • Use a little red wine to deglaze. 1 cup per 4 quarts of sauce.
  • Simmer for at least 1 ½ hours. This will cook out the excess acid and will blend all the flavors well.

Good luck!


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