I use fresh tomato puree to make my pasta sauce, other things in my sauce are olive oil, garlic, some herbs and salt, i don't let it boil but during the simmering & thickening process the sauce always splits. What am I doing wrong?
If by "fresh tomato paste" you mean you're starting with raw tomatoes, that's probably your issue. Most tomatoes you grow in your garden or buy from the store are salad tomatoes - they're not meant for cooking, and will result in a watery sauce like you describe.
You want a "sauce" tomato. Roma tomatoes or almost any plum-shaped tomato work well. There are others, but they're harder to find.
A basic puree of nothing but fresh tomatoes is a simple suspension -- solid particles floating in a liquid substrate. Over time those solids will settle out, leaving a clumpy solid layer and a watery liquid layer. Adding more water (e.g., from pasta water or incompletely wilted onions) will accelerate the trend. To avoid this result, you have a few options:
(Edit: I'm assuming you are using only a tiny amount of olive oil to sweat your garlic, such that you are not talking about having an oil slick over your sauce. If that's the problem, the answer is trivially simple: use less oil!)
. Salting the pasta water. I've learned this trick some time ago and it has been critical to producing the best-tasting pasta. I really want the pasta to be the point of the dish, with the sauce an accompaniment, and the getting salt in the water from the start is the way I get the best flavor in my pasta. In fact, I find that salting the water quite generously works very well as long as I am fulling draining the pasta after boiling. Adding starchy pasta water to my sauce. The starchy water really brings everything together. You could say it thickens it, but not like a roux, as some have
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