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Nov 20, 2012 12:51 PM

Fixing an overly sweet tomato pasta sauce

Hi everyone,

My MIL gave me a very nice homemade tomato/beef pasta sauce but it is overly sweet, I think from too much red wine (or sugar, I don't know, I don't want to call her and ask LOL). How would you fix this/balance it??

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  1. How much sauce are we talking?

    if just a quart or so, I just buy one of the small 8oz cans of grocery store tomato sauce and toss in, along with a squirt of tomato paste out of a tube and then bring to temp and heat.

    Mix, add more salt, pepper and spices to taste.

    More pasta sauce than that and go up to a 14oz can of unseasoned tomato sauce.

    Thre is no real way to remove the sugar.. You can only dillute it.

    Some 95% of the time I make my own red sauce, doing the above and then even adding a meat component like sausage or ground beef will get the sugar level back ih line if too heavy..

    Using the ground meat also works if reheated and then cooled and let to sit for a few days in the fridge as the sugar level does the osmosis thing and gets even lower as the unseasoned meats soak it up. Same thing with salt level if using lighty salted or unsalted sausage or ground beef.

    Works like a champ.

    1. Having been married to my wife of Italian heritage for more than 52 years, I would suggest adding some red wine vinegar and cooking down the sauce (don't tell my wife that I used the word 'sauce' instead of 'gravy') to the desired consistency. The vinegar should add some tartness to the 'condimento' (or salsa).

      1. I would add some salty cheese like pecorino or parmigiano before hitting it again with any salt.

        Another possibiliy is to add the seasoned pasta cooking water, and let it evaporate a bit.

        1. Thinly sliced lemon or thickly sliced lemon peel.

            1. re: ChiliDude

              Add a tablespoon of cocoa every time !

              1. re: krissyre

                Krissyre you are the best! Tried a few other suggestions and bit the bullet and tried yours. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Barbara M