How to thicken pasta sauce (Part-1)
This is a basic topic within cooking studios: Ways to thicken sauces without resorting to the classic trick of adding flour.
The ideal in many cases is to thicken through cooking without the need to incorporate any additive but as in cooking there are usually last-minute problems, it is never too much to have resources and know-how to work them to obtain good results.
There are, in addition to flour, other thickening agents that will help you, in addition to gaining consistency, to enrich or improve the texture and appearance of the sauce.
How to thicken pasta sauce
1. With a roux
The roux is a mixture of equal parts of flour and butter cooked for a longer or shorter time depending on the result to be obtained, used to thicken sauces.
Thus, we will have:
– Light Roux: the flour and butter are cooked for one minute. Less time
than indicated is not recommended as the preparation would taste like raw flour.
– Roux Rubio: the roux is cooked until it is brown.
– Dark roux: the roux is cooked until it is dark toasted, without burning.
Later and gradually add the liquid to thicken any roux.
2. With Peanut Butter
This is similar to the previous one. Peanut butter means something like “kneaded butter.” It is a mixture of equal parts of creamy butter and flour. Creamy butter is a butter with the consistency of cream, not melted. The best way to obtain it is by heating it with your hands. The texture of peanut butter is that of a smooth paste.
3. With a liaison
The liason is a mixture of yolks with cream whose thickening power is low. More than anything it is used as a finishing technique used to enhance flavors and modify textures.
4. With cornstarch
This is classic, right? Surely you have ever used cornstarch to thicken it. It is mostly used in baking because sauces thickened with cornstarch remain translucent. It works by mixing the starch with water or cold broth that is incorporated by beating a boiling liquid. It does not resist prolonged exposure to heat.
5. With vegetables
Yes, we can also thicken some sauces or liquid by adding a vegetable puree that, in addition to thickening, will enrich and add flavor and color.
6. With blood, coral, or buds
Another way to thicken sauces is with animal blood, coral, or egg yolks.
At 60-70ºC the proteins of any of the above coagulate and that is when they collaborate to thicken a sauce. Their use is limited only as a finishing technique as they are very unstable to heat.
7. With cream and butter
Its thickening power is low so it is often used to add texture, brightness, and flavor.
8. With chemical thickeners
If what we want is to obtain gelatinous or slightly sticky textures similar to jellies or jams, there are products that provide us with these characteristics such as pectin, xanthan gum, guar gum, or agar-agar, for example. Of which I will talk in another post.