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Saving bolognese w/ too much carrot

lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 07:57 AM

Hello! I made a bolognese last week that had all the traditional ingredients: wine, tomato, milk, carrot, ground beef. It simmered almost two hours. My husband thinks it has way too much carrot. I am going to use it as the sauce for some cheese manicotti... but I would like to doctor it up to save it.

What do you recommend? I was thinking of adding either some marinara sauce or some tomato paste to punch up the tomato flavor while trying to mask the carrot flavor.

  1. t
    treb Apr 22, 2013 08:01 AM

    Did you taste it? How many carrots did you use? Usually the carrot just adds a little sweet to offset the tomato acid. Adding more tomato will help.

    9 Replies
    1. re: treb
      Jay F Apr 22, 2013 08:04 AM

      If you're in a hurry, you could throw in a little balsamic vinegar.

      1. re: Jay F
        1sweetpea Apr 22, 2013 08:06 AM

        Balsamic will just add more sweetness, JayF. In my post below, I suggested red wine vinegar, as it's more acidic.

        1. re: 1sweetpea
          Jay F Apr 22, 2013 08:12 AM

          Balsamic vinegar is both sweet and sour, dear sweet pea. I've actually used it for this purpose, and it's delicious.

          I've tried red wine vinegar, and it tastes too acidy for me.

          1. re: Jay F
            1sweetpea Apr 22, 2013 08:21 AM

            Fair enough. My balsamic is pricey and super sweet. I was only proposing using small dashes of red wine vinegar and tasting, until the right balance of acidity is restored.

            1. re: 1sweetpea
              Jay F Apr 22, 2013 09:10 AM

              What kind of balsamic, sweet pea?

            2. re: Jay F
              lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 08:21 AM

              Thanks! Great recommendation. I actually just purchased a Cabernet vinegar from O Olive Oil that could be a nice marriage of balsamic and red wine. It's supposed to be more syrupy and sweet than a regular red wine, but not as sweet as balsamic.

          2. re: Jay F
            lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 08:35 AM

            I hadn't thought about vinegar, so thank you!

          3. re: treb
            lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 08:22 AM

            I used two large carrots (which is more than I normally would...) I liked it, but my husband declared way too much carrot. I'm trying to save it so my manicotti isn't also deemed inedible. But at the same time I don't want to throw the bolognese out...

            1. re: lfirebrand
              Jay F Apr 22, 2013 09:09 AM

              Freeze it and eat it yourself later. No reason to toss good Bolognese, even if it's a little carrot-y.

          4. w
            wyogal Apr 22, 2013 08:03 AM

            Add tomato paste. My husband always thinks there is too much carrot in my sauces. Although he likes carrots, I think he just thinks it's weird to put them in spaghetti sauce.
            (His mother always made her same spaghetti sauce, using hamburger, tomato sauce, tomato soup-yes- and maybe some onion and garlic powder, Italian seasoning)

            2 Replies
            1. re: wyogal
              lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 08:21 AM


              1. re: wyogal
                biondanonima Apr 22, 2013 11:46 AM

                I second the tomato paste idea, and would suggest adding some beef stock as well (or bouillon, if you don't want to add liquid). A little extra salty/savory flavor will help balance the carrot sweetness.

              2. 1sweetpea Apr 22, 2013 08:04 AM

                Would you consider making an equally unbalanced sauce with wine, tomato, ground beef, etc., but no carrot, to blend with it? If not, maybe just add some acidic ingredients to counterbalance the carrot's sweetness, such as red wine vinegar, more tomato.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 1sweetpea
                  lfirebrand Apr 22, 2013 08:35 AM

                  What do you think about upping the umami? I know that tomato paste would do that. Maybe some anchovy paste?

                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                    c oliver Apr 22, 2013 08:41 AM

                    I like your first suggestion. That's usually what is recommended when one flavor has gotten out of balance.

                  2. greygarious Apr 22, 2013 09:04 AM

                    The raison d'etre of vodka tomato sauce is that the alcohol brings out the full range of tomato flavor. Before I started diluting the sauce with more tomato, or adding vinegar, I would try vodka and simmering until there's no hint of booziness. It will not add flavor of its own, as wine would.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greygarious
                      c oliver Apr 22, 2013 11:38 AM

                      I didn't know that and have never made it. Well, yet. Good idea.

                    2. Berheenia Apr 22, 2013 12:06 PM

                      In a rush over the holidays we made a boring bolognaise using Trader Joe's mirapois - we decided it must have been too old as all the veggies has lost their bite. It was the Weeknight Bolognaise recipe from AK that we have always had great results with until we used a stupid shortcut. Anyway we saved it by adding some Trader Joe's Arabiata sauce, which my husband usually finds too spicy but it worked. I froze the bolognaise in it's blandness in small batches so we could try different approaches but the Arabiata did the trick.

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