Seems I've tried a variety of recipes and am never happy with my Italian red sauces, which begin with high hopes and always come out really no better than cracking a jar of Ragu. There are many things I don't understand. Why do recipes calling for canned tomatoes often require a) pureeing them (is this really better than buying tomato puree?) and/or b) cooking them for two hours, when I'd think they've been cooked to death in the can.
Surprisingly, I find canned-tomato results usually better than fresh, I think because it's hard to get a really ripe, sauce-worthy tomato unless you grow it yourself. But the array of canned product confuses me: tomato sauce, puree, paste, whole, minced...Is there a combination which yields magical deliciousness?
I usually start by sauteing garlic and onions, sometimes some chopped carrot or peppers. Adding wine, booze or heavy cream improves my results...but my best efforts would rank about Tucson-mall "Sbarro" level at best. Can anyone help?