What is your favorite pasta sauce?

Filed in Gather Food Essential by on February 7, 2009 0 Comments

I know a lot of you probably make yours from scratch, but every once in a while we’re forced to pick up some sauce at the store.  What is your favorite?

I tend to get Bertolli or Barilla a lot of the time.   

Cook’s Illustrated did a tasting, and this was their results:

Bertolli Tomato and Basil Sauce

This sauce had a “good balance of flavors” and “a nice chunky texture.” Because it wasn’t overseasoned with dried herbs, tasters thought this sauce tasted “the most like fresh-cooked tomatoes.”

Francesco Rinaldi Traditional Marinara

This brand’s “mild sweetness and spice” helped to bring out its “tangy,” “bright and tomatoey” qualities. Tasters appreciated its “thick” consistency and “good texture.”

Prego Marinara Italian Sauce

Our tasters didn’t love this sauce’s “too smooth” texture, noting that it “looks like ketchup.” But they were impressed that it “actually tastes like tomatoes” and “doesn’t have that fake herb flavor.”

Barilla Marinara Sauce

Tasters liked the “chunkiness” of this sample, but they complained that it was “candy-sweet” and overwhelmed by too much herb flavor. As one taster noted, “Tomato flavor is lost to oregano.”

Newman’s Own Marinara

This sauce was praised for being “spicy” and “peppery” without too many dried herb “distractions.” “Good texture,” said one taster of this “thick and pasty” sauce, “but not much tomato flavor.”

Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

Familiar refrains: “I like the chunky texture, but the dried basil is overwhelming” and “pleasantly chunky, but overpowering stale dried herb taste.” Tomatoes “seemed more roasted” than other samples.

Recommended with Reservations
Emeril’s All Natural Italian Style Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

Astute tasters noted that this sauce “tastes artificial and sweet” and had a “funky aftertaste that tastes artificial”; it is the only sauce in our lineup that contains corn syrup.

Not Recommended
Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce

“Who can taste anything other than those terrible dried herbs?” bemoaned one wincing taster. “Major spice overload: I hardly detect tomato in here,” said another.

Not Recommended
Ragú Old World Style Traditional Pasta Sauce

“What did you do with the SpaghettiO’s that came with this?” asked one taster about this “thin and flat” sauce. One of the few samples that tasters thought “could use more spice.”


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