HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Water residue in Bolognese sauce

  • 8


Whenever I cook a bolognese sauce I am left with a water residue on the outside rim of the sauce. I cook the sauce for 1.5 hours and thought that the excess water would be boiled off by then. I don't cover the pot when cooking and only have a splatter guard on top to stop the sauce splashing all over the walls.

Can anyone advise why I keep getting this residue?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Maybe it has something to do with the tomatoes you use? I've found, if using canned tomatoes, it's best to buy the most expensive one - especially if it's San Marzano tomatoes which I think are the best. I live in the UK and have just found them here... makes such a difference in any recipe I use that calls for tomatoes.

    1. Are you sure it's water, and not fat? Water, generally speaking, won't float on top of your sauce, but fats will. If it is water, you can just stir it back in and keep simmering. Fats will tend to keep separating back out.

      1. I have this problem, too. It's definitely not fat. With his Basic Tomato Sauce recipe, Mario Batali adds the salt at the very end. Perhaps it's so the sauce doesn't separate?

        1. I noted you mentioned that you boiled it to rid the sauce of the water. Hazan's reicpe calls for simmering low and slow , uncovered, to concnetrate the flavor and reduce the liquid, over 3 hours.
          Her "sauce" is not sauce with meat, but meat with sauce. So little in fact, that it doesn't ever bubble.
          Hope that helps!


          1. Yup... I'd say you just need to simmer it longer.

            1. I use dried mushrooms as regular mushrooms contain a lot of moisture. Also use tomato paste. I never have water and I use beef stock and wine.

              1. This has happened when I've done bolognese and only had 1% milk on hand. It hasn't happened when I've used whole milk. I believe it is because with 1%, the milkfat is separating from the water. With whole, there is less water to bleed out of the milkfat. At least, that was my theory.

                1 Reply
                1. re: katecm

                  i like that theory! whole milk is 3% fat, so if you figure the rest is essentially water, and you're using a cup of milk, you're looking at about 1 teaspoon of water extra, which would presumably boil away pretty quickly.

                  not sure what kind of tomatoes people are using, but those that are imported from italy, DOC san marzano or not, are packed in puree, whereas domestic tomatoes are packed in juice. i think you'd see a real difference based on that alone.