How do you unsweeten pasta sauce?

topic posted Sat, February 25, 2006 - 2:20 PM by  Shantastic!
Does anyone have a trick for unsweetening pasta sauce? Like if you've made it too sweet from too much basil. Any way to "undo" the sweetness?

posted by:
Los Angeles
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    Re: How do you unsweeten pasta sauce?

    Mon, February 27, 2006 - 3:33 PM
    I'd not have considered Basil as sweet.

    I use carrots to counter the acid. However, if you want more acid add a can of tomato paste.
    Igf you want to defeat too much basil add the following:

    Tomato puree
    Tomatoe paste
    Hmmm whatever all els you want to use to make your sause just don't add basil
    • Re: How do you unsweeten pasta sauce?

      Mon, February 27, 2006 - 4:11 PM
      if you have gotten it too sweet with basil, i would just cook it longer- basil is an aromatic herb, which means that once it's aroma/flavor is released, thats it, thats all, it should start tasting less like basil after a longer cooking time. keep in mind that the longer you cook, the more your sauce will reduce, so you could end up with something that is too sweet for other reasons.
      tomato sauce can be a tricky one to find the right balance of sweetness and acid. Here's some things I have done...
      1) fresh tomatos vs canned tomatos- canned tend to be sweeter, so maybe try switching to fresh.
      2) sweat off your garlic, onion, shallot, first, then deglaze with dry white wine- while white wine is more traditional (we're talking classical french here), you could use a dry red, balsamic, or even white balsamic. I personally don't like using any of these.
      3)if you have been using tomato paste to thicken, try eliminating it and going for a longer cooking time instead- tomato paste is just super concentrated tomato essence, sugars and all. I'm not sure what cliff meant when he said to add a can of paste to boost the acid- just taste the paste on its own, i find it's almost as sweet as tomato ketchup.
      4) up the amount of savory elements in your sauce- maybe add in some spicy sausage, or savory aromatics like thyme and oregano, or some black salty olives.
      5) serve it with something bitter, like rapini.
      6)squeeze in some lemon just before service, and readjust the salt.
      7) last minute you could also stir in some reduced cream for a rose sauce- this isn't really going to affect the sauces sweetness, but it's a good way to salvage a tomato sauce you aren't happy with.
  • Re: How do you unsweeten pasta sauce?

    Mon, February 27, 2006 - 5:06 PM
    There are a few tricks you can try. First, If you added too much basil, you could try adding a small amount of either red wine vinigar or simply add redwine. the acidic base will cut the sweetness down. The second thing you could try is to add a bit of salt, but it is important to add it very carefully, as the flavors intesify with cooking time. I would also recommend that you try to take the basil out if possible. In the future, you could add fresh whole basil leaves, so you can remove them as the flavor reaches your liking. I like to tie a bunch of leaves together with string and drop it in the sauce. ( a Bouqet Garnet) ..One last tip with cooking basil, if you cut the basil into slivers, ( shimfanod) and add them at the end, before service, you will get a great flavor, and the basil will act as a garnish as well...any way good luck...if you anymore questions, please feel free to hit me up ...aloha and good bye ...scott

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