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ISO Best Pasta Sauce commonly available in Toronto

Can't always whip up a pasta sauce due to time pressures - what is the best prepared pasta sauce available commonly in the GTA? Ideally someone will think of a brand many supermarlets carry but that tastes like home-made, with good garlic or basil overtones and not too much sugar, and at a reasonable price ....Does Costco carry any made for it ?

I know, asking the impossible!

Thanks in advance for your input!

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  1. I would say to look for Rao's...have heard very positive reviews about the new Loblaws Black label sauce as well but haven't tried it. If these aren't available I would go to the fresh food area and look for a store made 'homemade' sauce that every supermarket seems to sell.

    1. Village Grocer up in Markham makes an awesome Bolognaise Sauce!

      1. Easton's in the market does a good basic sauce. $5 a jar?

        1 Reply
        1. re: iMarilyn

          Yes, they do, but it's not in the regular rotation, and their sauces are only available select days of the week.

        2. I rarely buy pasta sauce as I prefer to make my own from organic tomatoes. However Costco (Billy Bishop Way is where I went) right now has 3 jars of Newman's Own Pasta Sauce (All Natural, whatever that means) on sale for $2 off the regular $5.99 price, so $3.99 per for 3 645ml jars. You get 2 Marinara and 1 Sockarooni ('Peppers, Spice and the Whole Shebang' the label says). So at $1.33 a jar and in glass jars, not cans nonetheless, and all profits going to charity I was lured in.

          I tried the Sockarooni in a lasagne I made last night and it was absolutely delicious. I don't think this value can be beat anywhere right now.

          1. Go to Costco and try a jar of the White Linen "All Natural Marinara Sauce." IMHO, this is one of the best-tasting prepared sauces and costs under $5 each. Not garlicky, but you can add some.

            4 Replies
            1. re: epsilontau

              i'll also vouch for the white linen sauce @ costco....
              highland farms makes a good 'storemade' one as well
              There are some specialty stores that has the mario batali pasta sauce which uses DOP san marzano tomatoes.. which i think is the best i've had out of a store bought jar.

              1. re: plug

                Agree with the Batali sauce, I believe it is also made without added sugar or other evil things. I like the vodka sauce as well, and the PC black label is my second favourite.

                1. re: Manybears

                  Just an FYI Manybears, costco in the GTA is now carrying Batali but its not the marinara one i've seen in the US. Its the cherry tomato one, which has both cherry tomatoes and san marzano. still a great product.

              2. re: epsilontau

                I agree that White Linen tastes like 'Ma' used to make. I've made my own for years and this one is as close as it gets.

              3. I haven't tried them myself but Pusateri's seems to carry some really nice looking sauces

                1. White Linen, has to be the best bang for your buck. It is hands down the best tasting jarred sauce not only for the price.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: spine64

                    What size bottle of White Linen does Costco usually sell?

                    1. re: Herne

                      1.18L - White linen really is the best store bought Marinara. Tastes fresh, like summer tomatoes. Some times Csotco has discounts on it so that is when I stock up.

                      1. re: wano

                        Ok. I plan to go to the Warden and Ellesmere store on Monday or Tuesday and I'll get one. Frankly I have never heard of the brand. White Linen reminds me of Mennonite summer sausage.
                        I assume it is found near the cans of tomatoes etc.

                        1. re: Herne

                          Ok now I feel inadequate with what I thought was such a great deal for Newman's Own pasta sauce at Costco so I am going to pick up some of this White Linen Marinara next time I am at Costco (and try to duplicate it using my home-grown tomatoes!)

                          1. re: Flexitarian

                            At 1.8 litL you may have all summer to make it.

                            1. re: Herne

                              Marinelli's has a good sauce i get it at Metro when on sale. no added "extras"
                              Nice flavor and several flavors to choose from. When on sale 2.99-399$

                              1. re: Herne

                                Bought a bottle of White Linen Marinara sauce today. It was as described--very fresh tasting and not too sweet. If I had been told that it was made today I'd have believed it. I prefer pasta sauce with ground meat in it but as it was Marinara sauce it was certainly exceptional.

                                A 1.8 litre bottle is not as big as I imagined but it will be sufficient for quite a while.

                                1. re: jayt90

                                  Thank you Jayt90 and others who recommended White Linen. Purchased several quart bottles at COSTCO and was overwhelmed by the freshness and "home made" flavour. Like Herne, I like sauce with meat in it - but found that adding a half-pound of lightly seasoned ground beef or veal (I used veal) made it complete if a meat sauce were preferred.

                                  1. re: Bigtigger

                                    The best pasta and sauce I ever had was about 45 years ago when my family discovered Clark's spaghetti which came as a can of sauce and the spaghetti in a cellophane bag all in one package. It was outstanding and has been taken off the market in some manner. Currently my favourite is Bravo sauce with Meat and it is getting hard to find. Perhaps adding ground meat and some garlic to White Linen may be a suitable replacement and maybe make my hair go black again.

                                    1. re: Herne

                                      I just saw some Bravo sauce at Metro yesterday.
                                      Did not pay much attention to store bought sauces until I started reading this thread. Is Raos the sauce from the 'restaurant' that has branches in NY and LV? If so, I saw a jar at Village Grocer selling for $12! That's damn expensive. I think I saw a jar of Batali for $11!

                                      1. re: Herne

                                        I did exactly that! Using the White Linen in my 'Authentic Italian Bolognese Ragu' recipe. The resulting meat sauce was very salty despite of the fact that I did not add any additional salt to the content. Guess the reduction of the Marinara sauce really concentrated the salt?! Next time, I'll use a can of San Marzano tomatoes instead!

                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          I tried the same thing and didn't like the result. Not too salty just didn't like the taste. I think I'm back to Bravo sauce with meat

                                          http://www.thestar.com/article/107904

                            2. re: wano

                              Just bought some Whilte Linen today at Costco and had some on my whole wheat spaghetti for dinner. It sure is a good deal and tasted very good. My only criticism is it is pretty high on the sodium. I used 1-1/2 cups on my pasta and the sodium in that was one-half my daily requirement!

                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                I agree it is a lot of sodium and for people like me keeping sodium in check is a prescribed necessity. Optimistically you could say 3 cups of the sauce gives you your daily allotment.

                                1. re: Herne

                                  Although low sodium is not a prescribed necessity for me (yet - fingers crossed), it's a good thing to keep within recommended guidelines for all of us. Looking at the ingredients (imported italian plum tomatoes, olive oil, fresh chopped basil/white onions/garlic, sea salt and spices) one could make it in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. I wonder how they import the italian plum tomatoes that they use in the sauce? In cans lined with bispehol-A?.

                                  1. re: Flexitarian

                                    Good question.
                                    My guess is food grade plastic barrels or buckets. The 100 oz cans wouldn't be practical.

                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                      For those of you as concerned as I am about non-essential chemical additives in the processed food they eat, I emailed Victoria Fine Foods in Brooklyn, NY, who produce White Linen Marinara Sauce (and a ton of other products, none of which I've seen anywhere) and they informed me that I am not the first person to inquire about BPA in their sauces. They informed me that they import their tomatoes in cans that have a BPA-free liner in them and thus there is no BPA in the sauce in their glass jars. They use these tomatoes, which they sell as whole cans, in their pasta sauces:

                                      http://www.victoriapacking.com/plumto...

                                      Curiously, the web page does not mention that the cans have BPA-free liners even though one would think that that would be a huge marketing advantage for them. I wonder why?

                                      Nice to know and kudos to Victora Fine Foods (if this is in fact true, which I am a bit leery of). If so, I wish other producers of canned tomatoes and derivative products would do the same.

                                  2. re: Flexitarian

                                    Well i did a taste test of Newman's Own Marinara Sauce against White Linen (both bought from Costco) and White Linen tasted way better. Newman's tasted very store bought and a too sweet and on the gritty side, whereas White Linen tasted very fresh and home-made. Maybe it's because of the organic products in White Linen vs non-organic in Newman's. If I buy pasta sauce it wil be White Linen from now on.

                            3. I regularly use the in-store made "meat sauce" which I buy at the Yorkville branch of Pusateri's though presumably it's available at their other stores as well. I used to make my own but found this a very acceptable substitute. As it's freshly made, it's got a short expiry date. What I've not used, I freeze in ice cube trays. This seems to work perfectly well

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ER2

                                i dont' think it should be a huge factor if its bottled properly.

                                I know many of italians who have the meat int he sauce and they bottle it and its in the cantina for the year

                                1. re: plug

                                  When I used to make my own I would use the recipe found in Marcella Hazan's "The Classic Italian Cookbook". At the end of her recipe she notes (p.129) that the sauce "can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen". That's about the same time limit you'll find on the freshly made meat sauce at Pusateri's

                                  Maybe there's a technique of bottling the sauce "properly" so it keeps for up to a year but it's a technique unknown to me..

                                  1. re: ER2

                                    Sorry for the confusion but are the ones at Pusateri's in a plastic tub with a push/pull type of lid?
                                    the ones i'm referring to are when ppl jar/can/bottle it using a stovetop or pressure cooker type of jarring method such as this

                                    http://wellpreserved.ca/2009/09/13/ca...

                                    when its done this way .. shelf life is between 12mths to 18mths.

                                    1. re: plug

                                      Sorry, plug, to take so long to get back to you. Yes, the sauce I'm talking about at Pusateri's comes in plastic tubs and usually has a shelf life of 4-5 days.

                              2. The Simply Natural organic brand is quite good, IMO. Their red wine version is nice