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Nov 11, 2012 09:27 AM

Jarred Pasta Sauce

So you don't feel like making your own pasta sauce-- what to do?

The vast majority of jarred sauces are not very good. There are about 20 bad ones for 1 good one out there.

Here's what I look for:
Italian imported tomatoes
EV Olive oil, with NO OTHER OILS in there
NO SUGAR, NO Corn Syrup, No sweeteners at all.
No unpronounceables.

The only ones I use on a regular basis now are
Paesana Puttanesca
and Moms Marinara.

Any other ideas? Most of the ones in the regular supermarkets are awful, sweetened, and have "vegetable oil" (Canola?) in them.

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  1. In my Italian family, and we often used Francesco Rinaldi low salt as a base. Classico is good, too. Full disclosure: not sure were the tomatoes come from, but there is no Corn Syrup.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lafouchow

      Classico-- FAIL--- sweet tasting, (sugar) and Canola Oil. Yuk. Rinaldi-- Sugar and soybean oil (Worse).

      1. re: lemarais

        Perhaps you will have more luck buying imported tomatoes in a box as a base.

        The website for Classico does not list sugar or canola oil. The Rinaldi no salt does have soybean oil, but no sugar.

        1. re: lafouchow

          After garlic... and canola oil!

          Diced Plum Tomatoes (Plum Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid), Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Onions, Olive Oil, Garlic, Sugar, Salt, Spices, Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Parsley Flakes, Canola Oil, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors Contains Soybeans

          "natural flavors" is a loose term that could mean lots of nasty things... to be avoided!

          1. re: lemarais

            To be fair, the offending oils are far down the list after spices etc., which means that by weight, they do not contribute to the product that much. Of course, it is better if they do not include them altogether! I wonder if those oils had to be included because of some part of the manufacturing process they are required in.

            I do not use any pre-made pasta sauces at home, but happen to be served a spaghetti dish made with a base of Classico sauce last night, doctored up with additional olive oil and other wholesome ingredients. It seemed pretty decent, if you do not want to make everything from scratch.

    2. I stopped buying it because of the BPA issue but used to love Trader Giotto's marinara. Great on its own but easy to doctor up too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        What BPA issue? If you're suggesting it for others to try, what's the deal?

        1. re: Midlife

          Some people think the BPA's are a minor issue and need to be avoided at all costs, others thinks its all hype. I am in the "better safe than sorry" camp since I also feed a young kid. So if you don't believe the press this is a really good sauce. YMMV.

          <Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical that has been used for more than 40 years in the manufacture of many hard plastic food containers such as baby bottles and reusable cups and the lining of metal food and beverage cans, including canned liquid infant formula. Trace amounts of BPA can be found in some foods packaged in these containers.>>

      2. Avoid any jarred sauced that doesn't start with plum tomatoes, or includes tomato puree.

        1. Ok, this is going to be out of left field, but my new favorite pasta sauce is from Rasika (the DC Indian restaurant).

          I get the kashmiri sauce by Rasika, which you can find at Whole Foods in in the DC area.

          1. The original comment has been removed