Q. Why does my marinara sauce get watery when I put it on spaghetti? — Mona, Appleton
A. Mona, I’ve made my own marinara and spaghetti sauces for years, and I have often had this same issue. If you make tomato sauces from scratch, a couple of things are important to consider. One is that reducing the water from fresh tomatoes is a long, slow process. As we know, tomatoes are a very wet vegetable and reducing them down to the consistency of a nice thick sauce takes a lot of time. In addition to getting out enough of the water, using a product to help emulsify your finished sauce can be helpful to hold it together. A couple of products I like to use in my tomato sauces are carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini squash. The carrots and sweet potatoes add a wonderful sweetness to the sauce that most people like and the carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini all add a nice smoothness. The last step I do, which is extremely important, is to puree my sauces in a blender to compete the emulsion process. The action of the blender will combine all of the components together into a nice smooth sauce, and it also makes sure that the flavor of any onions, cloves of garlic and fresh herbs also are well distributed throughout the sauce. Although I have never used it, you also could consider cooking a little flour slurry into your sauce to help bind it together.
I hope this helps you, Mona!