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Tomatoes not breaking down in my ragu

I've had a pork ragu (from Dinner a Love Story) in the oven for three hours now, and my canned whole tomatoes look just like they did when I put the pot in the oven. Is my sauce toast? Can I just purée the tomatoes once the meat is done?

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  1. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and hit them with a stick blender or a regular blender. For future reference, don't use canned tomatoes that have had calcium chloride added, because it keeps the tomatoes intact.

    1. I generally either use my hands or scissors to break them up before I put them into anything. But I agree with fishing them out, dealing with them and returning to the pot. Curious. Do you usually make ragu in the oven rather than stovetop? Doesn't effect this thread but wondering.

      3 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Made it in the oven. Thanks for the tip about the calcium chloride! This has been my go-to dinner party recipe for a while now, it's really quite fabulous and easy (when you have the right tomatoes)

        1. re: c oliver

          It avoids scorching. I cook mine in the oven too.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I have an induction cooktop which is adjustable so incredibly low that "scorching" isn't an issue...unless the cook screws up :) Probably the #1 reason I love it so much.

        2. You should smash them up prior to cooking. Go ahead and smash them up now.

          1. This is one of those times that a hand blender is very handy in the kitchen. If you don't have it, just fish them out and blenderize, then put it back in the sauce. It should do the trick...

            1. You've received good advice to remove the tomatoes and puree them. It's too late for this ragu, but for future reference look for canned tomatoes that DO NOT include calcium chloride as an ingredient. Calcium chloride is added so tomatoes will keep their shape in cooking.

              4 Replies
                1. re: ricepad

                  Ha, ha! Somehow I missed that, and you said in the first reply even. Sorry to echo your thoughts, consider it flattery!

                  1. re: janniecooks

                    I'll return the favor in another thread....but you'll have to hunt for it!

                2. re: janniecooks

                  Wow, thanks for pointing that out. I always assumed they were less than ripe tomatoes. This is good to know.