Rao's Spagetti Sauce
I love Rao's Sauce!! To me it's the only one I've tried that comes close to tasting good..All the other ones I have tried tasted terrible. Is there another I should try??
Patsy's and Lidias are also very good but as you will see on many other threads the price of these are getting ridiculous.
Others that people have recommended are TJ's and Cento. IMO they are not as good but they are less than 50% of the cost as the others. Most have too high a sodium content for Mrs Jfood.
Once the premiums went north of $8 a jar i took my business elsewhere, including a simple pot of sauce on a sunday morning and into the freezer. Buy some good tomatoes, some garlic, spices, and sometimes some tomato paste. No biggies, great smells and 25% the cost. I have never canned but this coming summer I'm heading down that route as well.
Cento at $3.99 a jar. We switched from Rao's as our prepared sauce favorite because Cento's San Marzano based sauces simply taste better (an individual matter as always) and are, IMO, more tomatoey and less oily than Rao's; the fact that they're about half the cost (although we can get Rao's for about $6.99) is a nice bonus.
Just as a note, the Cento's sodium content is about 400mg per half cup serving, which in my book (noting that neither of us is on a sodium-restricted diet, but we don't like salty food) is reasonable.
Unlike the sauce, their penne rigate pasta was tremendously disappointing, overpriced, and overhyped. The pasta did not cook up well at all. If I had to describe it, I wouldn't say they were gummy -- I'd say more pasty. Rao's isn't using a particularly good durum wheat. After cooking, it fell apart and almost all the penne split despite being cooked al dente. (I had them in the boiling water maybe 7 minutes or so). Do yourself a favor and steer clear of the penne (until they fix it). http://www.raos.com/pastas/pastas.htm
I no longer used jarred sauces but when I did, I liked Barilla Marinara. Tasted very fresh.
One key is to make sure the jars are made with extra virgin olive oil and not other oils. It is so easy to make your own, though....
re: Karl S
I am a big fan of the Rao's marinara sauce, but based on opinions on Chowhound, I tried Cento. I gotta say, I still think that Rao's is far superior. Would I like to pay $3.99 instead of $7.99? Sure. But I love that Rao's sauce and I'd rather pay more for something that I truly enjoy.
You know, after switching to Cento (for taste, not price), I decided to give Rao's Marinara another test against Cento's. For me, it's no contest: Cento's has a deeper ripe tomato flavor, is less oily, and has just the right amount of salt. Obviously YMMV, but even if Cento's cost more than Rao's, I'd still be buying it.
Rao’s Marinara Sauce
At Rao’s we use our Marinara Sauce on all kinds of pasta, as well as a major component in many other dishes. Each morning, Annie Sausto makes a huge pot of fresh sauce to get us through that night’s service. We never have any left over. The imported tomatoes that we use come flavored with basil (basilico), but we always add additional fresh basil for its pungent aroma and taste. In the early days, our sauce was made from fresh tomatoes in the summer and home-canned in the winter. Today, I think nothing could be better than the canned, imported San Marzano tomatoes we use all year. The most important step is to clean the tomatoes of all skin and to remove the hard part of the core---this is what makes our sauce so smooth.
Makes approximately 7 cups.
2 28-ounce cans imported Italian plum tomatoes with basil (preferably those labeled “San Marzano”)
¼ cup fine quality olive oil
2 ounces fatback or salt pork, optional
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt to taste
6 leaves fresh basil, torn, optional
Pinch dried oregano
Pepper to taste
1. Remove tomatoes from the can, reserving the juice in which they are packed. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes, gently remove and discard the hard core from the stem end and remove and discard any skin and tough membrane. Set aside.
2. Put oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat. If using fatback, cut it into small pieces and add to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes or until all fat has been rendered. Remove and discard fatback.
3.Then add onion. Saute for 3 minutes or until translucent and just beginning to brown. Stir in garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until just softened (see Note). Stir in tomatoes, reserved juice, and salt. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook for about 1 hour or until flavors have combined and sauce is slightly thickened. (If you prefer a thicker sauce, cook for an additional 15 minutes.)
4.Stir in basil, oregano, and pepper and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat ans serve.
Notes: Take care when adding garlic to hot oil, as it will burn and turn bitter very quickly. If this happens, discard oil and vegetables and start again.
We never have sauce left over; however, if you do, store it, tightly covered and refrigerated, for a day or two or freeze for up to 3 months.
I find the various Barilla sauces to be very fine, but especially like the one with black and green olives and the one with garlic and mushrooms--large pieces of all those goodies.