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Favorite Marinara Sauce in a Jar

ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 11:42 AM

My wife uses the 16-oz. jar of Colavita, and sometimes she extends the volume with a can of Hunt's No Salt Added.

Neither of these products contains High Fructose Corn Sweetener. We used to use a canned product with an Italian name until we read the ingredients list on the label. The current producer has added HFCS to the product that once was a superior one.

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  1. IndyGirl RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 11:43 AM

    There was just a thread about this:http://www.chowhound.com/topics/356746

    My favorite is the Trader Joe's organic vodka sauce. It is to die for--I only add extra-hot red pepper flakes and loads of freshly-grated parmesan

    2 Replies
    1. re: IndyGirl
      ChiliDude RE: IndyGirl Jan 6, 2007 11:16 AM

      Yes, I saw the other thread with over 50 replies. I figured that with so many replies no one would read mine.

      1. re: ChiliDude
        IndyGirl RE: ChiliDude Jan 6, 2007 02:06 PM

        No problem :) Just wanted to make sure you saw it, too. And you're probably right about all the replies.

    2. MeffaBabe RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 12:19 PM

      I like the classico brands. I especially like the 4 cheese one or the tomato/basil.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MeffaBabe
        ChiliDude RE: MeffaBabe Jan 6, 2007 11:19 AM

        We have used Classico sauces for years, and I saved and use some of the 26-oz. jars to store herbs and homemade condiments. My wife decided that she wanted to fund a restaurant thru purchases of the more expensive marinara and olive oil. I saw this restaurant on the grounds of the Culinary Institute of America in NY.

      2. s
        semmen RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 01:06 PM

        I like Newman's. I will eat any of the varieties, but my picky kids only like the basic marinara.

        1. p
          Produce Addict RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 02:21 PM

          Victoria--especially the artichoke. not sure how widely available it is, but it is certainly in sahadis in brooklyn

          1. l
            ladelfa RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 02:33 PM

            Bertolli brand won the Cooks Illustrated taste test, and I have to admit that having tried it, it's been hard to go back to the other brands. Bertolli has a bright fresh tomato flavor, and not overly sweet the way most jarred sauces are. I've liked all the varieties I've bought.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ladelfa
              Jennalynn RE: ladelfa Jul 31, 2007 06:42 PM

              I'm a Bertolli-ite too. Not sweet, good tomato flavor. I go with the basic marinara.

            2. v
              valerie RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 02:44 PM

              I like Rao's. Expensive, but really good.

              12 Replies
              1. re: valerie
                Jesdamala RE: valerie Jul 31, 2007 06:49 PM

                Count me in on Rao's. For me, and I have read too many subject threads to get into this one again, but it is wonderful, and worth the money, as some of us don't have the time to make from scratch. It works. It works wonderfully. The Arribiata, for give the spelling, please. The simple Marinara is fine and can be expanded upon.
                In a pinch I would use Emeril's Kicked Up, however, have not seen it on shelves in a very long time. I am paying the price and sticking to Rao's.

                1. re: Jesdamala
                  Hungry Celeste RE: Jesdamala Aug 1, 2007 02:34 PM

                  I've seen the Rao's, and I can't make myself buy sauce-in-a-jar for $8.50. Is it really worth it? I can get the Bertolli or Barilla for $3, or Newman's for $2.50.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste
                    valerie RE: Hungry Celeste Aug 2, 2007 07:07 AM

                    Only you can decide if it's worth it. To me, it is most definitely worth it and nothing else compares, on sale or not on sale. Period.

                    I do like the Barilla sauce with olives and capers. But I have not had it since I started buying Rao's, and if I tasted it now, I'm not sure I would still like it.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste
                      suetiggers RE: Hungry Celeste Dec 9, 2010 06:59 PM

                      to me it's worth it...but my hubby Mario (who's Italian) and I like Cento's too and that's much less...

                      1. re: Hungry Celeste
                        Jasatt RE: Hungry Celeste Nov 26, 2011 10:25 PM

                        i have spent years trying to repiicate a Marinara sauce that my younger brother an I use to fiight over to actually lick the can! lol! It was a Golden Grain Marinara sauce avaiable in the 60's in the bay area in CA. I am 90% there. I wrote to the new company that now owns Golden grain to either sell again or give me the recipe. I did not tell them but is it very important to me. My younger brother had his first open heart surgery at age 25 and many since then. We sat together on Thursday and holding hands and he told me how much he wished we could fight over a can or golden grain marinara sauce again. There is nothing I want more. So if anyone here has a 40 year can of this sauce I will buy it from you. Our mom served it over some one inch frozen beef raviolis. we would count each peice we got make sure none of us got one more then the other. I would love to give him one more meal from our childhood. But I need either the product or the recipes!

                        1. re: Jasatt
                          2sleepy RE: Jasatt Apr 23, 2012 03:02 PM

                          Jasatt, I agree, golden grain marinara sauce was the best! We used to have it over Lucca ravioli all the time when I was a kid..I sure wish I could find the recipe

                          1. re: 2sleepy
                            Jasatt RE: 2sleepy Apr 23, 2012 06:24 PM

                            Was that frozen? They Lucca brand? That name sounds very familar to what I grew up eating. Too bad Golden Grain will not make it any longer. but it sounds like they lost the recipe or something, when I contacted them. It really was the best ever! I have replicated something close but still not quite right.

                            1. re: Jasatt
                              2sleepy RE: Jasatt Apr 23, 2012 07:35 PM

                              Yes, it's frozen and still available in a number of grocery stores, and as far as I know they still sell fresh ravioli in their San Francisco store. But I miss the golden grain marinara..I read your post about adding lemon juice to marinara, I will definitely try that, thanks =)

                              1. re: 2sleepy
                                Jasatt RE: 2sleepy Apr 23, 2012 08:03 PM

                                After the new owners of Golden Grain sent me their chefs favorite recipe for Marina, which included Bell peppers, I do add about 1 finely chopped tablespoon of that and it does bring it a bit closer to Golden Grain. But his recipe also had a bunch of chopped mushrooms and I have not tried that yet, as I am not sure how well they would can.
                                I make about 12 pints at a time and I use a canner and I can them. I do use a lot of fresh basil and thyme in mine, I was abit timid about the lemon juice but wow what a great difference it makes, Giana DeLaurtenis (sp) on the food network always adds lemon or lemon zest to her dishes so I figured it could not be that bad. Try it. It really makes a difference. For 12 pints, I add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Put some in and taste then add more. If you are going to can it, you need the full 1/4 cup for the acidity.

                                1. re: 2sleepy
                                  Jasatt RE: 2sleepy Apr 23, 2012 08:04 PM

                                  I wonder is there are any cans of Golden Grain on the black market I could buy? LOL

                            2. re: Jasatt
                              Jasatt RE: Jasatt May 20, 2012 09:41 PM

                              I posted a question about Golden Grain Marinara sauce that I loved as a child and I amazed at the amount of replies I have received. Every one seems to love Rao's so I wil buy a jar online if I can and then after many taste tests, I will replicate the recipe that they use. If I can find anything better than Golden Grain I will be very happy! Thanks to everyone and there replies.

                        2. re: valerie
                          cvc RE: valerie Jul 31, 2007 06:50 PM

                          I have to second, or third, this. I recently picked up the Rao's marinara and arrabiata sauces at Bed, Bath and Beyond (go figure). The best I've ever had out of a jar.

                        3. j
                          JudiAU RE: ChiliDude Jan 5, 2007 03:20 PM

                          Rao's and Batali are the only two that make the cut. Batali used to be distributed at TJs and is now distributed at WF. Ammusing note about the change here: http://www.mariobatali.com/sugo.htm

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JudiAU
                            IndyGirl RE: JudiAU Jan 6, 2007 01:50 AM

                            Wow. What happened between his sauces ad TJs? Was it just that not enough people were buying them? I know that they rotate things out pretty quickly.

                            I'm going to have to get my hands on some of his sauce. (tee hee!)

                            1. re: IndyGirl
                              Will Owen RE: IndyGirl Jul 12, 2012 06:02 PM

                              TJ's is moving more and more into self-branded stuff, for good or ill depending. As of right now my favorite everyday marinara sauce is theirs - it's a smallish jar, about the capacity of the squatty Classicos, but it's quite good and really cheap. I mostly use it to fill out the quick fresh-tomato sauces I throw together, or just as a cooking medium for frozen meatballs.

                              1. re: Will Owen
                                Jasatt RE: Will Owen Jul 12, 2012 06:21 PM

                                I read last week that Traders Joe is going to open a store in my new state. I am from the bay area of CA, and now live in Utah (job)! Of course they will not be allowed to sell their great alcohol, but I cannot wait to shop there again. I will let you know what I think of their Marinara. To me the best will always be Golden Grain Marinara from a can back in the late 1960's and 1970's. My mom bought it all the time, and I could eat it cold out of the can. It was that good. They have stopped making it years ago and only sold it the bay area, I have learned from the company that took Golden Grain over. They tell me the recipe is lost. Sigh.

                          2. mcel215 RE: ChiliDude Jan 6, 2007 11:46 AM

                            I have always made my own, even after the family is grown and gone.

                            I used to do the Sunday (gravy), with sausage,meatballs,and a piece of salt pork. Lots of fresh garlic & olive oil. Two hours on the stove and it's heavenly.

                            I still make a shorter version, as most of the ones I have bought in the jar, are loaded with sodium.

                            What is citric acid anyway?

                            If you don't have to worry about he sodium, Rao's is a good choice.


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mcel215
                              ChiliDude RE: mcel215 Jan 7, 2007 12:26 PM

                              Citric acid is Vitamin C used as a preservative.

                              1. re: ChiliDude
                                ladelfa RE: ChiliDude Jan 8, 2007 07:42 PM

                                Wrong. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, a different compound.

                                Citric acid was originally extracted from lemons and limes (hence the name), but these days is produced microbially from sugar. In its refined form it is a white crystalline powder that is (unsurprisingly) used to make foods taste sour when you don't want them also to taste "lemony" or "vinegary." Indian, Middle-Eastern and Asian markets frequently stock it.

                              2. re: mcel215
                                Jasatt RE: mcel215 Apr 23, 2012 06:44 PM

                                I make a pretty good, well I love it, Marianna Sauce. But at the end of the simmer, I alway add a splash of lemon juice. That is citric acid. it just brightens up the flavors so much and it does add bit of saltiness also, I think. Citric acid really does brighten flavors, Since I can mine in jars the lemon juice also acts as a preservative.

                              3. The Chowhound Team RE: ChiliDude Jan 7, 2007 01:45 PM

                                Chili Dude's recipe here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/357846

                                1. Striver RE: ChiliDude Jan 9, 2007 12:40 PM

                                  I've posted this in the other thread, but it bears repeating. Cento's imported sauces are tastier than Rao's, cheaper than Rao's, and use all natural ingredients starting with San Marzano tomatoes. Their basic marinara is great on its own or as a base for more complex sauces; their Arrabiata and Vodka sauces are also excellent.

                                  I used to be a Rao's fan, but no more. If you can find Cento's locally, give them a try.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Striver
                                    ChowFun_derek RE: Striver Jan 9, 2007 02:56 PM

                                    If you are in S.F....
                                    I contacted Cento, and they said Molly Stone's carries them...I haven't looked myself yet, but I will!

                                    1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                      Steve RE: ChowFun_derek Nov 27, 2011 10:26 AM

                                      Cento's arrabbiata is excellent. TJ's marinara (sold in large cans) is very simple and pure tasting.

                                      But I can no longer find Cento's easily. Will e-mail them per post below.

                                    2. re: Striver
                                      suetiggers RE: Striver Jul 31, 2007 06:31 PM

                                      My husband's very picky about Italian sauces. He's a good cook and his Italian mom made a great sauce that he can do just as good. We both like Rao's a lot but we would most certainly love to find something we like as much for less dough. We're in Baltimore. I've already checked a few supermarkets. Do you know where Cento's is sold?

                                      1. re: suetiggers
                                        jfood RE: suetiggers Jul 31, 2007 06:35 PM

                                        this is how jfood found out where cento is dold in his 'hood. send them an email.


                                        BTW jfood likes the marinara but is not wild about the vodka. And jfood still thinks that rao's is the best, patsy's second.

                                        Sometime a local grocer has the 32 oz raos for 2 for $10. jfood buys a few but mainly in the winter.

                                        1. re: jfood
                                          suetiggers RE: jfood Jul 31, 2007 06:46 PM

                                          THANKS VERY MUCH....

                                      2. re: Striver
                                        Hungry Celeste RE: Striver Aug 1, 2007 02:36 PM

                                        Thanks for the Centos vs. Rao comments. My rural supermarket does carry Cento, so I'll give it a whirl.

                                      3. r
                                        rockykay RE: ChiliDude Jan 9, 2007 03:02 PM

                                        I've tried both Cento's and Rao's. My personal preference is for Rao's Marinara, which is awesome. Depending on where you buy it, it's either 26 or 32 ounces, and is pretty pricey, but totally worth it. I can just sit there and drink the stuff.

                                        That said, their other sauces are just meh.

                                        Rao's cookbook has the recipe for the Marinara. It turns out really well and is very easy.

                                        1. b
                                          Booger RE: ChiliDude Jan 9, 2007 09:01 PM

                                          I like Prego (which is available everywhere). I brown a pound of lean ground beef, and dump the jar in.

                                          My wife loves it (and admits that this is probably the reason she married me).

                                          I don't like big chunks of tomatoes, which a lot of other sauces have.

                                          If I want something more "foodie", I will make something completely from scratch, but for everyday, Prego definitely hits the spot.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Booger
                                            Oh Robin RE: Booger Aug 1, 2007 01:02 PM

                                            I'm all about the Prego. Doctored up with several shakes of garlic, basil, oregano and onion powder. If I'm feeling ambitious I'll brown an onion in olive oil then add the sauce. Always get a lot of compliments on my "homemade" sauce.

                                            1. re: Oh Robin
                                              southerngal RE: Oh Robin Aug 13, 2007 12:31 AM

                                              Our family loves Prego. I'm sure I would like other brands also. But my family is stuck on Prego...so I don't venture far from...Prego.

                                          2. sivyaleah RE: ChiliDude Jul 31, 2007 07:05 PM

                                            I've answered this before, but I'll chime in for Rao's again. Love the Marinara and the Marinara with Basil. Perfect basic sauces. Yes, pricey but I wait for sales and scoop them up. We're only 2 people at home, so 1 jar usually last us through 2-3 meals anyway, depending on what I'm making (we're not the kind of people who believe in drowning our pasta in sauce).

                                            I use it as a base to doctor up for my own sauces too.

                                            I like Mario Batali's also, but have been having trouble finding it in my area lately.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: sivyaleah
                                              Panini Guy RE: sivyaleah Aug 1, 2007 06:37 PM

                                              I play a mental game where I pay myself prep cook wages of ~$15/hour. As this applies to pasta sauce it means if I can prep something fast enough to come in under what the retail price is of premade, then I'm making it myself (or doctoring up a decent-enough base sauce to my liking). Rao's doesn't make that cut because it retails here in the $8-9 range. I can shop and chop fresh for less. If there was a sale here of 2/$10, I'd go for it, but honestly, I've had two varieties of Rao's it and I don't think it's twice as good as something half as much.

                                              For those in Pgh, the PennMac marinara was $5.99 last week. It's a terrific base and actually pretty decent on its own.

                                            2. hotteacher1976 RE: ChiliDude Jul 31, 2007 08:59 PM

                                              You know I just buy some regular sauce and dress it up with seasonings and herbs myself.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: hotteacher1976
                                                sivyaleah RE: hotteacher1976 Aug 1, 2007 03:50 AM

                                                Regular meaning, what? What brand? Some are better than others.

                                                1. re: sivyaleah
                                                  hotteacher1976 RE: sivyaleah Aug 1, 2007 08:28 AM

                                                  Prego or maybe Ragu. Sorry about the omit.

                                              2. f
                                                foodperv RE: ChiliDude Aug 1, 2007 04:00 AM

                                                i am very picky the only thing (to me) that the stuff from a jar is good for is for pizza
                                                they all share 1 common thread no matter what the brand they don't taste homemade/fresh

                                                1. s
                                                  swsidejim RE: ChiliDude Aug 1, 2007 08:40 AM

                                                  I use Bertolli Marinara when I am too busy to make my own.

                                                  I would like to try Rao's but I saw how expensive it was for a jar, and I cannot bring myself to do it.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: swsidejim
                                                    valerie RE: swsidejim Aug 1, 2007 01:17 PM

                                                    If you are not willing to spend the money on buying Rao's, then don't try it...because once you do, you will be hooked!

                                                    I tried Cento based on CH recommendations to see if it compared, and I threw away more than half the jar. It wasn't even close!

                                                    There is a store near me (Stew Leonard's) and Rao's sauce is often on sale -- 2 jars for $10. I stock up. And sometimes I forget what I have in my cabinets, so now I actually have 4 jars that I bought on sale in the cabinet!

                                                    1. re: valerie
                                                      jfood RE: valerie Aug 1, 2007 01:34 PM

                                                      the best deal around is stewies 2 for $10 and it's the 32 oz jar. People need to be careful on price because raos comes in 32 and 24 oz sized.

                                                  2. l
                                                    lml RE: ChiliDude Aug 1, 2007 01:08 PM

                                                    My own...can't beat it and easy as heck! Tried Lidias...very good!!

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: lml
                                                      katesprings RE: lml Aug 1, 2007 01:16 PM

                                                      Has anyone tried the San Marzano sauce in a jar? It was way too expensive at Wegman's otherwise I would have liked to try it.

                                                      1. re: lml
                                                        jfood RE: lml Aug 1, 2007 01:35 PM

                                                        lidias is very good as well and similar price point to pattsys and raos. just can;t stand looking at her picture on the label tho.

                                                      2. k
                                                        katecm RE: ChiliDude Aug 1, 2007 01:44 PM

                                                        I always make my own using Pomi boxed tomatoes, but I once accidentally bought their marinara. I opened it on a quick weekday and couldn't believe it - it's very good. Not good enough for me to stop making my own, but very fresh and garlicky. It's easy to find at World Market stores.

                                                        1. crosby_p RE: ChiliDude Aug 3, 2007 07:31 AM

                                                          I'm a fan of Classico sauces...but for vodka sauce I LOVE Gia Russa...it's got a kind of crunch to it...I know that's a bad explanation but it's the only word I can think of!

                                                          1. j
                                                            Jimbosox04 RE: ChiliDude Aug 3, 2007 07:51 AM

                                                            Newman's Own Fra Diavola

                                                            1. s
                                                              shellyesq RE: ChiliDude Aug 3, 2007 08:01 AM

                                                              We like the Vincent's sauce, mild or medium. It's thick without being chunky.

                                                              1. r
                                                                rexsreine RE: ChiliDude Aug 5, 2007 05:49 PM

                                                                We had a marinara sauce contest a few weeks ago. Tasters were blindfolded. There were 8 sauces, 6 homemade, 2 from jars (Rao's and Bella D'amore). First, second, and third place all went to the various homemade ones. Neither bottled sauce made the cut and, in fact, were pathetic by comparison. Marinara doesn't take very long to do. Make a double or triple batch and freeze what you don't use.

                                                                1. j
                                                                  JanR RE: ChiliDude Aug 10, 2007 10:56 AM

                                                                  Paul Newman's sauces are my favorite.

                                                                  1. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: ChiliDude Aug 10, 2007 05:52 PM

                                                                    It's not marinara, but I tried Bove's vodka sauce on a whim last year and have been hooked ever since. I could eat a jar of this sauce on its own, it is THAT good. I haven't tried their other sauces because it would mean a bowl of pasta without the vodka sauce, but I would hazard a guess that they are as good.


                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
                                                                      Candy RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 14, 2007 08:33 AM

                                                                      I like Boves too, have not tried the vodka sauce never saw any point to it. I find mopst of the big name commercial brands way too sweet. Boves gets it right.Mostly I make my own using Marcella's simple recipe with butter, tomatoes and half an onion.

                                                                      1. re: Candy
                                                                        i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: Candy Aug 14, 2007 08:41 AM

                                                                        You HAVE to try it, Candy!!! It's amazing. I literally eat it with a spoon sometimes.

                                                                    2. b
                                                                      beachmouse RE: ChiliDude Aug 13, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                                      Normally we use Alessi- nice basic list of no weirdness ingredients with no added sweetners.

                                                                      I'll pick up Rao's when it shows up on clearance at Target for $3.49 a jar, but we don't feel like we can justify buying it full price.

                                                                      1. d
                                                                        dalaimama RE: ChiliDude Aug 14, 2007 08:00 AM

                                                                        I love Muir Glen, particularly the Fire Roasted Tomato sauce. It's reasonably priced ($3.75 at SuperTarget and a bit more in Whole Foods or Central Market) and very good. I also like Classico. Rao's is good, but too pricey for me.

                                                                        1. reubensandperrier RE: ChiliDude Aug 14, 2007 08:07 AM

                                                                          I love a local Kansas City restaurant's brand, Cascone's. The restaurant has gone downhill quite a bit the last 10 years, but the marinara sauce is fantastic. You find tons of whole basil leaves when you're cooking, which always makes me feel good.

                                                                          And when I'm making a tomato broth or I want a super thin marinara, I use another KC local, V's Italian Ristorante. It's the thinnest marinara sauce possibly ever, but I love it when I want a really light tomato taste.

                                                                          1. ChefBoyAreMe RE: ChiliDude Aug 14, 2007 08:27 AM

                                                                            This is absolutely the best jar tomato sauce I've ever found. Literally, as good as home made:


                                                                            Check the ingredients: Sicilian Pear-Shaped Tomatoes, Alessi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onion, Garlic, Alessi Sea Salt, Basil

                                                                            No paste, no random herbs, no canola oil...not even regular olive oil, just extra virgin.

                                                                            Unfortunately, its good enough you almost give up making homemade sauce, and that's coming from a Sicilian who 5 years ago wouldn't consider sauce from a jar!

                                                                            1. j
                                                                              Janet from Richmond RE: ChiliDude Aug 14, 2007 08:55 AM

                                                                              Hubby picked up a jar of Hooper's Tomato Sauce from Fresh Market last weekend and it is VERY good.

                                                                              1. luckyfatima RE: ChiliDude Dec 9, 2010 07:09 PM

                                                                                I like Rao's, too. Tomato sauce gold. Worth it.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: luckyfatima
                                                                                  chefdaddyo RE: luckyfatima Dec 10, 2010 03:26 AM

                                                                                  Agree with Rao's, but only w/ littleneck clams and lotsa flat parsley! This week, Stop & Shop had Silver Palate on sale at two for $10. Incredibly bland. Never again. We always keep Bertoli's or Classico in the pantry for mid-week quick meals. Walmart regularly stocks both of them in the $2-$2.25 range.

                                                                                2. gmm RE: ChiliDude Nov 27, 2011 02:46 AM

                                                                                  I haven't been able to find Rao's marinara in my town, but I do think Victoria's is very good. Very fresh, not too sweet or acidic.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: gmm
                                                                                    foodie06 RE: gmm Nov 27, 2011 05:16 AM

                                                                                    I also like Rao's and use it when I want to splurge. For everyday I really like Newman's Own Marinara.

                                                                                    1. re: foodie06
                                                                                      Charlieindc RE: foodie06 May 20, 2012 07:25 AM

                                                                                      I love all the Victoria sauces, especially the Tomato and Basil.

                                                                                  2. g
                                                                                    GH1618 RE: ChiliDude May 20, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                    Tommaso's from North Beach, San Francisco. No sugar.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: GH1618
                                                                                      Jasatt RE: GH1618 May 20, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                                                      I posted a question about Golden Grain Marinara sauce that I loved as a child and I amazed at the amount of replies I have received. Every one seems to love Rao's so I wil buy a jar online if I can and then after many taste tests, I will replicate the recipe that they use. If I can find anything better than Golden Grain I will be very happy! Thanks to everyone and there replies.

                                                                                    2. fldhkybnva RE: ChiliDude Jul 9, 2012 05:01 PM

                                                                                      I had a hankering for chicken parm last night, and for years either make my own marinara sauce or use Classico Tomato and Basil which I find to be fantastic. For some reason (boredom, procrastination, who knows?) I went on an extensive internet search for the "best marinara sauce" and discovered Rao's. At $8.99 in the local grocery store vs. $5 for 2 jars of Classico, I decided to splurge and thought I'd add another review to this ever so helpful thread. I have to admit that it was a very good marinara sauce and had a unique flavor that was difficult to put my finger on. I did not find it too oily as some others have mentioned. However, I found that it was very thin and that I literally had to use a spoon to be able to get a mouthful of chicken and sauce. Also, I thought that the flavor of the Classico "worked" better with my version of chicken parm at least which I don't generally eat with pasta.. I find the Classico to be much more in-your-face-acidic, but the best thing about the Classico is that it is very thick with big hunks of tomato which are a delight with each bite of chicken coated in sauce. I think Rao's might be just perfect with a pasta dish in which it coats the pasta well with its lovely flavor but a dish that I generally don't prefer large chunks of tomato or a thick coating of sauce. Anyway, just wanted to share. Thanks for the recommendations, as I really enjoyed the taste as a change of pace, but I think I'll stick with Classico in the future.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                        Jasatt RE: fldhkybnva Jul 11, 2012 07:12 PM

                                                                                        I know we have Classico in the stores here. I will buy some this weekend to try it with my homemade ravioli. I have found that when it comes with Marinara sauce that each has a unqunic flavor. As some who could eat the old Golden Grain Marianara with a spoon right out of the can, I have tried many trying for one I felt like I could do the same, I will try to post my opinions about Classico latter.

                                                                                        1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                          circustance RE: Jasatt Jul 12, 2012 07:20 AM

                                                                                          Classico's Marinara and Plum Tomato variety is excellent.

                                                                                      2. Bacardi1 RE: ChiliDude Jul 12, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                                                        My favorite jarred brands of Marinara are:

                                                                                        Actor Paul Sorvino's Marinara (unfortunately with limited availability - my local markets sadly stopped carrying it. It's wonderful.)

                                                                                        Costco's own Kirkland brand Marinara - very, very nice.

                                                                                        Barilla brand Marinara - a basic go-to along with Costo's

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                          Jasatt RE: Bacardi1 Jul 12, 2012 05:55 PM

                                                                                          I have seen Barilla. Are you saying that Costco's brand is just like it or better than it?

                                                                                          1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                            Bacardi1 RE: Jasatt Jul 22, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                                            It's all personal preference, but frankly I prefer the Costco brand. It's a little thinner, but much fresher-tasting for some reason. Comes in a 3-jar pack & is good to have around. Quite similar to the Paul Sorvino brand that I used to be able to get.

                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                              Jasatt RE: Bacardi1 Jul 23, 2012 07:06 PM

                                                                                              well I do not live near a Costcos. I wonder if Sam's Club has one? I guess I just prefer to make my own recipe which I can "can" by adding a little lemon juice before I seal and boil. It wil last for years. My recipe is
                                                                                              I large shallot diced small
                                                                                              2 cloves of garlic diced
                                                                                              Simmer in olive oil
                                                                                              4 cans of diced tomatoes
                                                                                              Add about 4 cans of tomato sauce
                                                                                              3 or 4 large stems of Thyme.
                                                                                              Simmer for about 3 hours
                                                                                              Remove thyme and scrap off any remaining leaves
                                                                                              add about a half cup of fresh basil leaves chopped.
                                                                                              Simmer for another half hour
                                                                                              Add Kosher Salt and pepper to taste.
                                                                                              Simmer for another 30 minutes
                                                                                              Add about 3 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
                                                                                              Pour into clean jars with heated lids
                                                                                              boil in a large pot, preferrable a canner pot with insert for 35 to 40 minutes for pint size
                                                                                              Check the lids after removing to make sure they pop. or the lids are sunken in and do not pop back.
                                                                                              You can put this on your shelves and keep it forever.
                                                                                              But if you are not into making your own there are many good suggestions here. Iwish everyone would petition Golden Grain to bring back thier recipe from the late 60, early 70's but I was told they lost the recipe. When the new company that owns golden grain replied to my question about the recipe and I told them mine. They suggested adding a little ground Green pepper. I am going to try that soon and I will let you know.

                                                                                        2. mamachef RE: ChiliDude Jul 12, 2012 01:51 PM

                                                                                          Newman's is good stuff, but I add so much stuff to a sauce base that it doesn't end up really mattering what I purchase. Rao's is also good, but pretty costly.

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: mamachef
                                                                                            Bacardi1 RE: mamachef Jul 12, 2012 02:11 PM

                                                                                            I used to buy Newman's sauces, but I found them all a little on the sweet side, & upon checking the ingredients list, found most, if not all, of them to contain either corn syrup or sugar as a major ingredient. There's no need for that unless you're using cheap unripe tomatoes to make your sauce. So "organic" or not, Newman's Own pasta sauces have been struck from my list.

                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                              Jasatt RE: Bacardi1 Jul 12, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                              I still make my own Marinara and I can it. You have to add about a teaspoon of lemon juice to each pint jar before processing. But once I had a jar of Newman's that I decided to add to my own recipe at the end and mix it all together. It was one of the best batchs I ever made. it was about a ratio of 1:10 of Newmans to mine with no sugar in pint jars. It is so easy to can Marinara if you make it yourself. You only need a water bath to can it. I also have a supply on hand when I need it. I will be glad t answer any questions if anyone wants to try it.

                                                                                            2. re: mamachef
                                                                                              Berheenia RE: mamachef Jul 13, 2012 06:37 AM

                                                                                              I just had a small jar of Rao's on some ravioli and was wowed. I wish it was cheaper. I'm still going to make my own for plain pasta dishes or use doctored TJ's for meatloaf and garnishing leftovers but was surprised. We've had it in the past and I don't remember it being so darn good!

                                                                                              1. re: Berheenia
                                                                                                Jasatt RE: Berheenia Jul 15, 2012 06:17 PM

                                                                                                I have read so many good things about Rao's Marinarra sauce I just have to try it. I have never seen in any store in Utah, so I went to Raos' site. For 3 of the smallest jars the shipping alone was $21.00. But I found it on Amazon and I get a bigger jar and shipping only was only $4.99. I ordered 3 jars and it came to almost $30.00. I hope it is as good as everyone says it is. I made some home made beef, sausage and spinach Ravioli a few weeks ago and froze the squares. As soon as I recieve this expensive sauce and try it, I will give you all my rating for it. If it tops the old cheap Golden Grain Marinarra in a can, then I will be sold.

                                                                                                1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                  Jasatt RE: Jasatt Jul 19, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                                                                  I received my RAO's today from Amazon. I was disppointed in the packing. Yes it was safe but their bubble pack had a very strong sticky side that took off all labeling when you tried to remove it. But after using care and lots of water I was able to read the contents on one of the 3 jars I bought. Very simple ingredients. Italion Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, basil, and oregeno. (sp) I could not wait to try it out. I immediatly opened a large jar and put a teaspoon in it. It was so oily! so I looked at the jar again, and found part of the bubble pack, that left that section, and it warned of the oil settling and to shake. So I did. It is an excellent sauce but I do have some complaints. Lots of tomatoe skins and the ends of the tomatoes. Although it is an excellent sauce I still think one can make it by scratch even better, as I do. I like more basil and some tyhme in mine. What I loved about the RAO sauce was the sweet clean taste. It did not taste canned/bottled at all. Sweet and pure. The basil leaves are large and not well distributed. And I thought it could use a bit more salt. But I ate about a half of a cup with some pasta and it really was sweet and pure For those that do not make their own, this is one of the best. Nothing yet has beat Golden Grain Marinarra sold in the bay area in the 60's and 70's :( It is so easy to make and even can your own. I combined two recipes I found online. This will be a great addition to my homemade. I am going to invite the family over for Chicken Parm this Sunday and I will let them try it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                    Bacardi1 RE: Jasatt Jul 20, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                                                                    Amazon's packaging of ANYTHING has to be the worst in the business. No matter what I order from them - from foodstuff to books to whatever - always arrives looking like it has been packed & shipped by chimps. Oh no, wait. That would be insulting to chimps. . . .

                                                                                            3. breadwinner RE: ChiliDude Jul 12, 2012 02:30 PM

                                                                                              I LOVE Francesco Rinaldi's. No high fructose corn syrup or weird preservatives in there either. I do jazz it up with other stuff of course, but it's cheap and delicious on its own as well.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: breadwinner
                                                                                                Jasatt RE: breadwinner Jul 12, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                                                What kind of other stuff?

                                                                                                1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                  breadwinner RE: Jasatt Jul 12, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                                                                  Stuff like a quick glug of olive oil, sauteed onions and carrots. Also a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar, which I know doesn't make it marinara, but I like adding some acidity to jarred sauces. You just don't get the same acidity as you do with fresh tomatoes. I also like to brighten it up with some fresh herbs like a little bit of flat-leaf parsley and basil. OH and thinly sliced garlic, made slightly golden from sauteeing it in olive oil. Mmm, I am a major garlic fiend, much to my boyfriend's chagrin.

                                                                                                  Let it simmer, then toss a little bit of it to freshly cooked pasta. Grate some fresh pecorino romano over and DONE. One of my favorite meals, and it's ridiculously easy. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: breadwinner
                                                                                                    Jasatt RE: breadwinner Jul 12, 2012 06:39 PM

                                                                                                    Try some simple fresh lemon juice for the acidity. I found it amazing. I grow basil and thyme so I always use a lot of that in my homemade sauce. Shallots and then garlic. Never burn garlic as it turns so bitter. The next time I am going to can my own Marinara I am going to try roasted garlic. That has a sweet nutty taste and it might work well in my sauce or totally ruin it! LOL

                                                                                                    One of my favorite summer meals is some angel hair pasta with some fresh diced tomatos and a jar of my marianna sauce tossed then topped with some finely shredded Parmesan Regianno cheese, then some fresh basil on top with a salad and garlic bread. Yummy.

                                                                                                  2. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                    Bacardi1 RE: Jasatt Jul 26, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                                                                    My basic "other stuff" when I'm using jarred sauce is to simply rinse out the jar with a couple of splashes of dry white or dry red wine.

                                                                                                2. jrvedivici RE: ChiliDude Jul 20, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                                                  What is Marinara sauce in a Jar???? Oh wait I'm sorry do you mean gravy?? hahaha

                                                                                                  While I make my own gravy (always with meat) I rarely use just a Marinara......however the best canned/jarred that I would use as substitute at times was Aunt Millies.....but over the years it's become rather difficult to find.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                    Jasatt RE: jrvedivici Jul 21, 2012 09:11 PM

                                                                                                    I only learned recently that sauce is often referred to as gravy by Italians. I will look for that one, Aunt Millies. Rao's did not knock my socks off, as I hoped. The best still I have ever tasted came in a can by Golden Grain. They only made it in the late 60's early 70's and only distributed in the SF bay area. I have contacted the company that took it over and they no longer have the recipe. It was a 'gravy" I could sit and eat cold right out of the can. Sounds disgusting but many here will agree with me about how good it was.

                                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                      ChiliDude RE: jrvedivici Aug 2, 2012 04:44 AM

                                                                                                      I miei antenati non erano italiani (My ancestors were not Italian)! My wife uses the term 'gravy', and I prefer 'sauce.' Gravy is either brown or yellow depending on whether it is red meat or poultry based. After 52+ years of marriage, I still give my wife 'agita' by calling that tomato stuff 'sauce.' Sometimes I relent and call it 'condimento.'

                                                                                                    2. Crockett67 RE: ChiliDude Jul 24, 2012 07:39 AM

                                                                                                      Cleveland's Own Little Italy Pasta Sauce or Carfagna’s Original Gourmet Pasta Sauce if there's a lot of meat or cheese in the dish.

                                                                                                      Carfagna’s Pomodoro Basilico if a lighter pasta dish with no meat and light cheese.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Crockett67
                                                                                                        Jasatt RE: Crockett67 Jul 25, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                                                                        I am not looking for anything with meat. I make my own ravioli but, I love a good pasta with just a plain old marinara sauce with some freshly grated or scrapped Parmesan Reggionano (sp). With some fresh chopped tomatoes from my garden and some fresh grown basil. Serve that with some nice bagette with dipping oil and a glass of great chardonnay and I am in heaven. Keep the posts coming. so odd that I found this site by asking about a canned Marinara Sauce from Golden Grain that was only sold near San Francisco in the 70's.

                                                                                                      2. sivyaleah RE: ChiliDude Jul 25, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                                        I just discovered Mario Batali's Cherry Tomato sauce. I've tried his others, they are pretty good too but this one? I'm really digging it, when I can find it on sale anyway :)

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: sivyaleah
                                                                                                          Jasatt RE: sivyaleah Jul 25, 2012 05:46 PM

                                                                                                          I have never seen his products in any store. Where do you find it? I always am looking to try everything that people recommend. Maybe I will find one better than the last one. But then maybe I can find it on Amazon like I did the Rao's sauce!

                                                                                                          1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                            Bacardi1 RE: Jasatt Jul 26, 2012 07:32 AM

                                                                                                            Around here (VA), Batali's sauces are frequently on many regular supermarket shelves. But not all the time. I don't know if it's Batali's availability or ordering on the markets' part, but it seems to be sporadic. I've never tried Batali's sauce. Can't seem to wrap myself around the idea of paying between $7-$9 a jar for marinara sauce.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jasatt
                                                                                                              sivyaleah RE: Jasatt Jul 27, 2012 04:12 PM

                                                                                                              They are in pretty much every major supermarket chain in New Jersey. I love Rao's also, but I'm finding that the Batali ones have a "fresher" type of aspect to them - Rao's more "cooked down" if that makes sense? So, depending on how I'm going to utilize it, I might pick one over the other.

                                                                                                              I know they are pricey but we're only 2 people in our home, and a jar easily last 2-3 meals for us as we don't over-sauce our pasta - and don't over eat it either. If I make a tomato cream sauce out of it all the better :) But, I do wait until they go on sale and then stock up.

                                                                                                          2. h
                                                                                                            HillJ RE: ChiliDude Aug 2, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                                                                            Has anyone tried this new sauce?

                                                                                                            back story

                                                                                                            1. fldhkybnva RE: ChiliDude Aug 2, 2012 05:20 AM

                                                                                                              I was browsing whole foods yesterday and came across Monte Bene and Cucina Antica? They were both very appealing to me as I have been on the lookout for a lower carb marinara sauce and other than Rao's have not been able to find one. These two fit the bill. Has anyone tried either? Thoughts?

                                                                                                              1. c
                                                                                                                ctfoodguy RE: ChiliDude Aug 2, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                I always make my own sauce, but if I HAVE to go to the jar I like Palmieri's. It is made in New Haven, CT and I really don't know how far outside of Southern New England you can find it.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: ctfoodguy
                                                                                                                  Jasatt RE: ctfoodguy Aug 4, 2012 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                  You must be from the bay area in California from a long time ago. I finally contacted Golden Grain to see where they sale it or if I could buy it online. I was told it was only sold in Northren CA a long time ago and they have no idea what happened to the orginal recipe. The woman sent me a recipe from one of thier Chefs that was a favorite oh his, but it tasted nothing like my memories. It as heavy on mushrooms and bell peppers. I like you have continued to search for something comparable. I make my own now and I do add just a touch of bell pepper but only about a tablespoon of minced bell pepper to about a gallon of sauce. But have yet to find something as good as Golden Grain Marina that came in a can of all things! as a kid I would eat it right out of the can! it was that good.

                                                                                                                  This reply was meant for Hulasgirl but I cannot seem to delete it and move it down.

                                                                                                                2. h
                                                                                                                  Hulasgirl RE: ChiliDude Aug 4, 2012 03:33 PM

                                                                                                                  We LOVE LOVE LOVE Golden Grain Marinara Sauce.....Cannot find it anywhere and since been trying all the others to find something comparable without any luck. So any help out there will be appreciated. Enjoy~

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Hulasgirl
                                                                                                                    Jasatt RE: Hulasgirl Aug 4, 2012 06:40 PM

                                                                                                                    You must be from the bay area in California from a long time ago. I finally contacted Golden Grain to see where they sale it or if I could buy it online. I was told it was only sold in Northren CA a long time ago and they have no idea what happened to the orginal recipe. The woman sent me a recipe from one of thier Chefs that was a favorite oh his, but it tasted nothing like my memories. It as heavy on mushrooms and bell peppers. I like you have continued to search for something comparable. I make my own now and I do add just a touch of bell pepper but only about a tablespoon of minced bell pepper to about a gallon of sauce. But have yet to find something as good as Golden Grain Marina that came in a can of all things! as a kid I would eat it right out of the can! it was that good.

                                                                                                                  2. fldhkybnva RE: ChiliDude Aug 7, 2012 08:02 PM

                                                                                                                    This past weekend I tried the Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara sauce and it was OK,though much less flavorful to me at least than other brands. Has anyone tried Monte Bene marinara sauce (I spotted it in Whole Foods, but haven't seen it anywhere else)?

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