On the Sauce

Every Westchester resident makes homemade tomato sauce and never buys the jarred variety. Okay, reality check. Some of us buy jarred sauce at least some of the time (and some of us, we confess, buy it all the time). How to choose the best? We invited to our offices Head Chef Freddy Aguero of Tuscan Oven Trattoria (360 N Bedford Rd, Mount Kisco 914-666-7711; tuscanoven.com) to blind-taste 10 sauces. Here are his findings.

Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
($7.99/32 oz)

“Rustic and smooth on the tongue. A tad oily but it has good texture and is very tasty.”
Mario Batali Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
($7.99/24 oz)

“Visually looks great—elegant coloring; I can see the basil. Tastes quite good, too.”
Whole Foods 365 Organic Classic Pasta Sauce
($2.99/25 oz)

“Herbaceous and it has good texture. It’s a little too dark in color.”
Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina
($3.59/24 oz)

“This is a little too thick but has the right amount of sweetness for a decent, well-rounded flavor.”
Trader Giotto’s Rustico Traditional Southern Italian Sauce
($2.99/24 oz)

“A little spicy to be considered a classic sauce, but it has pretty good flavor. I can taste tomato paste, which was used as a thickener.”
Monte Bene Farm Fresh Tomato Basil
($4.99/24 oz)

“Aroma’s fine but it’s bland and too thick.”
Prego Traditional Italian Sauce
($3.39/24 oz)

“It has a nice look but it’s too sweet. The flavor’s not deep.”
Mercurio’s Pomodoro con Basilico Marinara Sauce
($5.99/26 oz)

“Too oily. No complexity. Tastes like tomato but not good tomato.” 
Ragu Marinara Sauce
 ($3.39/24 oz)

“The look is off—like puréed tomatoes and nothing else. I don’t taste garlic or basil, and it’s too thin.”
Francesco Rinaldi Original Pasta Sauce
($2.59/24 oz)

“Too thick and unfinished. I can only taste tomatoes and pepper.”


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