Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews

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jjjrfoodie
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2006/04/07 13:16:50 (permalink)

Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews

New to the forum but will add what I can.

While I usually make my own Sunday Gravy and Marinara sauce, I have been intrigued by the growth in higher end jar and canned based pasta sauced.
I am planning a jar sauce taste party for some friends for something different (and for the non cooks), but with the complete overload of options and lack of info on the web, I'd thought I'd try here.

Below is a list of available brands and types at my local grocery. Price aside, I am looking for quick comments and or brief notes on any of the sauces below should you have tried them.

I have had the Emeril Vodka and Rao's Arrabiatta and both were quite good. It is just hard to know where to go from here when I only need 4 or 5.

TIA for any and all help.

Jerry

Germanos Arrabiatta
Germanos Pomodoro
Germanos Pomodoro con Basililco
Germanos Peperonatta
Germanos Marinara

Rao’s Vodka Sauce
*Rao’s Arrabiatta Sauce (Hot)
Rao’s Sausage and Mushroom sauce
Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
Rao’s Homemade Cuore Di Pomodoro
Rao’s Homemade Puttanesca
Rao’s Homemade Roasted Eggplant (Siciliana)
Rao's Southern Italian Pepper and Mushroom Sauce
Rao's Tomato Basil Sauce

*Emeril’s Vodka Sauce
Emeril’s Three Cheese Sauce
Emeril’s Sicilian Gravy Sauce
Emeril’s Mushroom and Onion Sauce
Emeril’s Kicked-Up Tomato Sauce
Emeril’s Roasted Gaaahlic Sauce
Emeril’s Puttanesca Sauce
Emeril’s Roaasted Red Pepper Sauce

Rustichella d'Abruzzo Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce

Antica Italia Vodka Sauce

Dell’Amore Romana
Dell’Amore Portabello
Dell’Amore Putanesca
Dell’Amore Spicy Recipe
Dell’Amore Original Recipe
Dell’Amore Sweet basil & Garlic
Dell’Amore “No vodka” Vodka Sauce

Paesana Vodka Sauce
Paesana Marinara Sauce
Paesana Puttannesca Sauce
Paesana Fra Diavolo Sauce
Paesana Sicilian Gravy Sauce
Paesana Pomodoro Marsala Sauce
Paesana Roasted Garlic Sauce
Paesana All Natural Sauce

#1

223 Replies Related Threads

    UncleVic
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 13:39:58 (permalink)
    For the money and my laziness, I normally stick to Barilla Sauces in a jar... Good price for the quality.. Yet nothing like homemade...
    #2
    Pigiron
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 14:26:06 (permalink)
    I've said this before, but I have never seen a reason to buy jarred marinara, especially these new high end sauces that can run over $10 a jar, when I can have a far superior sauce for a tiny fraction of the cost, with minimal effort. My fast marinara:

    -Saute crushed or thinly sliced fresh garlic in good olive oil
    -Add canned crushed San Marzanno tomatoes
    -add fresh basil if available, dried herbs otherwise, to taste
    -simmer 10 minutes

    Done. No jarred sauce can come close to it.
    #3
    Phishmonger
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 14:40:22 (permalink)
    I agree with you, Pigiron.. Quick homemade sauce beats those jars any day. Mario Batali's basic tomato sauce comes to mind for most sauce needs. I use it (or whatever variation I feel on any given occasion) for most all my sauce needs.
    #4
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 14:50:32 (permalink)
    Guess I have a lot to learn, I was thinking Hunts or Ragu. I seldom make spahgetti but I keep a couple cans of hunts on hand as an ingrediant in barbaqye sauce, chili etc..slinking away in shame..
    #5
    efuery
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 15:18:01 (permalink)
    I have tried Emeril's roasted gaaahlic sauce and it is quite good. Even my fussy Italian husband thought it was acceptable.

    #6
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 16:05:05 (permalink)
    I've had Emeril's Sicilian Gravy, Kicked-Up Tomato, and Puttanesca sauces. The first two I liked. I didn't care for his Puttanesca. I've never seen an Arrabiata with his name. I've had Rao's Arrabiatta sauce and found it lacking -- and at those prices I'll not accept lacking.
    #7
    Donna Douglass
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 16:06:56 (permalink)
    I like Dei Fratelli tomato products a great deal and stock up on them whenever I can. Also the Marinara sauce from Trader Joe's is very good in my opinion. Or, in the absence of these in my pantry, I make my own. But if using either of these canned products, I always doctor them up with extra virgin olive oil, extra garlic, extra fresh basil and oregano (if I have fresh, if not, then dried). I use the tomato paste in a tube that also adds extra pizazz to the sauces.

    If making my own, I begin the basic sauce with a can of Dei Fratelli diced tomatoes. Love Dei Fratelli. And no, I don't own stock.

    Donna
    #8
    Greyghost
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 16:53:35 (permalink)
    Interesting experiment, but I would think it more interesting if standard midlevel brands were featured as well. Try Classico's Mushrooms and Ripe Olive sauce or Florentine Spinach & Cheese for example. I think they would place quite well against the premium gourmet brands.

    I am not quite so confident about the Barilla sauces. I love Barilla pasta, but the sauces l have had leave me cold. I tried the Barilla sauces when they first came out and the ones I tried were ruined by an overwhelming presence of garlic powder. Sorry, Uncle Vic, maybe they have improved over the years, I hope so.

    As well as costing much less to conduct, I think the cheap sauce Vs premium sauce experiment would be much more interesting.

    Keep us posted and welcome to Roadfood!
    #9
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 18:08:35 (permalink)
    Keep 'em coming folks.

    Greyghost, I agree, but I am trying to actually see if indeed the price of upscale sauce is worth it and what different offerings in taste they have . My own sauce is very good like the folks above, but sometimes I crave a change. I live alone and usually make my own sauce in 64oz batches. Lasts quite a while.
    A jar of 32oz stuff last me a few weeks, hence why i cannot go thru it at a great rate without a mass audience.
    The money is not the point (avg of $6 a jar say on above types) is only $120 to do 20 jars of above or half the list. A good dinner out for 2 I reckon in comparison. I'd just be up to my butt in sauce for a year at my consumption rate .
    I'm just trying to tackle it without going "Postal" on Italian sauce. It won't be pretty--but hey, it will be fun for the rest of you--if I have to go it alone...

    Thanks for the help so far! :)
    #10
    roossy90
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 21:26:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Parses6

    I stick to the "whatever is on sale/do I have coupons?" sauces. I even sometimes buy hunts or other canned sauces. But I then spice it up.
    A few squirts DelMonte ketchup
    A few squirts Hunts ketchup
    onion powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano, chopped garlic,and whatever else you like. Mix all together and cook slowly...always excellent.
    Good enough to serve at my restaurant.

    Here we go with the 2 kinds of ketchup again.
    Sorry, but ketchup in spaghetti sauce just sounds gross
    Do you use ketchup in all your cooking?
    #11
    shen
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 21:36:50 (permalink)
    the only jar sauce i use is called Scalfani...the marinara and the spaghetti varieties. you can buy in fairfield county, ct and i will stock up and bring into my manhattan apartment...i REFUSE to pay $12 for raos or patsys...tried once and found both lacking. Scalfani uses all natural and the usual ingredients.
    Ps. I second the GROSS to ketchup. maybe for meatloaf, but in sauce?? please, just use chef boyardee than.
    #12
    acornlover
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/07 21:45:19 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pigiron

    I've said this before, but I have never seen a reason to buy jarred marinara, especially these new high end sauces that can run over $10 a jar, when I can have a far superior sauce for a tiny fraction of the cost, with minimal effort. My fast marinara:

    -Saute crushed or thinly sliced fresh garlic in good olive oil
    -Add canned crushed San Marzanno tomatoes
    -add fresh basil if available, dried herbs otherwise, to taste
    -simmer 10 minutes

    Done. No jarred sauce can come close to it.

    I cannot agree more, garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and spices, period, my SILs all put peppers, onions, carrots, sugar, etc, I cannot eat their sauces and finally have my husband is converted too, he gives their sauce away when they drop a jar off here, sugar, yuk
    #13
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/09 11:18:41 (permalink)
    Well, the taste testing began last night.

    I bought 2 different jar sauces, one I had wanted to try for some time, and the second as more of a "who are these guys?" kind of sampling. Both sauces were heated in separate skillets til hot and then fresh hot cooked vermicelli was added and tossed, a'la restaurant prep.

    First up was the Pastorelli Four Cheese Pasta Sauce. $3.99
    Chicago based. www.pastorelli.com
    Consistancy was to my taste, which is slightly chuncky, but primarily smooth. Tomato flavor was fresh, but the spicing of the sauce was subdued, likely to fit the middle of the road midwest palate. (Only a slight hint of oregano, which I like since most mfgrs love to overdo it on the oregano.) I added hot chili flakes to final dish after trying a bite to up the zoom, but this is a good, simple red sauce that I think most folks-including kids- would enjoy. Would be good as a chicken parm or beef braciole sauce as it is thinner than some gormet jar sauces and the additional cooking would not turn it into a paste. I'll try the Pastorelli Arribiattta soon to see if that solves the spice issue

    Then we have the second sauce. I chose Paesana Pomodoro Marsala Sauce because I wanted to see where they were going with the wine essence and it looked like a rich sauce in the jar. $5.49
    www.paesana.com New York City based.
    Sauce was of medium thickness, and had visible pieces of onions and mushrooms with it. The marsala flavor (which they list on the label as real marsala wine) is mildly sweet and very powerful, to the point it overwhelms both the fresh tomato base and the onions and mushrooms. Consistancy was great, but be sure to pair this with a zoomy stuffed ravioli or some type of beef or it will blow away almost anything it is paired with. I do my own marsala sauce all the time, but this Paesana was a little too much for me. In small doses this sauce may work.
    Quality was good, but only those who love wine and wine sauces will reap its benefits.
    Guess I'll need to try a second Paesana sauce to see of they go overboard on everything. Oh well.

    Hope this helps.
    Now all I have to do is consume the remains and move on to the next contestants.

    Jerry
    #14
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/09 11:57:12 (permalink)
    While I have the time, I did want to add my reviews of the two sauces I mentioned in my fist post , just so we have an across the board measurement of apples-to-apples comparisons. Just call me OCD... (but not to my face, pleeeeeease)

    Emeril's Vodka Pasta Sauce
    www.emerils.com $2.99
    (I have no idea where his operation is based and website does not mention it so you're on your own to guess :-)
    Sauce was prepared and plated as mentioned in above post.

    Sauce looked great in the jar and lead me to buy it in the first place. When poured into the skillet and then heated, the garlic smell was very very pronounced, but flavor of garlic in final tasting was not overpowering, but nice. Overall spice blend was nice, but the complex flavors may not suit younger diners. Consistancy met my standards and overall flavor was superb for the price. I had to add a little pasta water to thin and coat the vermicelli, but i did not see this as a flaw based on the way I cook my meals. YMMV though.
    I added ground italian sausage and other things in subsequent meals to finish the jar and it all worked well. Hangs in there with cheese ravioli like a champ. Garlic was strong though, so I can only guess what his kicked up garlic sauce is like. Hmmmm.
    Good bang for the buck. So much so that I bought a second jar last week.


    Rao's Arribiatta Pasta Sauce
    www.raos.com $5.49
    New York City based.

    Our local Wild Oats had a closeout and the regular price of $7.99 or $9.99 was reduced significantly to "non-gouging" levels. So....time for "Guniea Pig" mode.

    Like everyone here, I said that this stuff better kick butt for the price. And it did--kinda. This is a very good sauce, but only if you can find it on sale. Sauce consistance was very chunky. Tomato flavor was brighter than most, but a pinch of flavor was lost in the canning process and not as bright as a fresh sauce (but based on what I have tasted in my lifetime they're all like that). Since I like mine smooth, or at least smoother, I introduced it to "Mr. Blender" and after a whirl on puree, got it to a slightly chunky state where I like it.
    Flavor was fine and spice mixture was good. Only medium hint of oregano. This is a spicy sauce to the point I did not need to add chili flakes. I like hot stuff, so be forwarned those of mild palettes. This is a great sauce with regular pasta or a zingy ravioli, and would make a perfect sauce as a side dish of pasta if having a steak, osso bucco or flavorful seafood and is the way I intend to use it in the future. If you eat it alone with pasta as a meal, pack the rolaids. I also made a 1/2 and 1/2 plate of this over pasta and then fettucini alfredo to balance the heat as the second 1/2. Worked great in balance.
    If I can find this stuff on sale, I'll definately keep a jar in my pantry for guests, as I would never go through more than 25oz every few months of this spicy a sauce prohibiting me from making my own. My $.02.

    Hope this helps.

    Jerry

    #15
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/09 12:58:32 (permalink)
    I'll add one quick mid to low end local sauce now that I think of it. I had it at my folks house a few weeks ago and like a good "Nam" flashback, it just launched itself into my mind.

    LaRosa's Original Pasta Sauce
    www.larosas.com $2.99
    Cincinnati, OH based.

    This jar sauce is available within a 90 mile or so radius of Cincinnati and via mail order. It's the "hometown" sauce around here, and sometimes so much so that many local folks have to be deprogrammed from it's hypnotic "sirens of the rocks" call.
    I grew up on the stuff but no longer buy it. It is a perfectly smooth sauce with no tomato chunks, and is heavily seasoned with oregano and is very sweet. It seems to have a "love it" or "hate it " appeal, but I'm indifferent due to eating so much of it as a child (go figure).
    Not gourmet, but good for the mild midwest palette and kids love it. Easterners say it is waaay too sweet and lacks depth. I agree.

    It works great over pasta and ravioli, but becomes too thick when used as a baking sauce with manicotti or lasagna. You'll have to thin it for that--trust me.

    Cheap enough to have a go or try it at their restaurants. The pizza sauce is even sweeter with less oregano (and I like it actually, at least occasionally) but that can be found over in the pizza forum.
    If I have to choose, I'll make my own sauce before eating this, but YMMV.

    I'll shuttup now.




    #16
    John A
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/10 09:09:14 (permalink)
    I make my own, but if in a hurry I will use Prego tradional.

    John
    #17
    soyday
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/10 09:22:14 (permalink)
    I live in South Florida, and in Publix they carry Gia Russa, which runs $4-$5 dollars per jar, but it tastes so fresh and delicious I'm spoiled for everything else. The ingredients say it all: imported Italian plum tomatoes, imported Italian olive oil, fresh onions, fresh garlic, fresh basil, salt, and spices. That's all, and worth every penny in my opinion. I always get raves when I use it, and it tastes like you spent hours at the stove simmering.
    #18
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/10 09:31:49 (permalink)
    Soyday, Gia Russa is Youngstown, OH based, so I'm sure I can get it here in Cincinnati. Looks like I have a new brand to try out. Do you remeber which of the 4 types of sauce they offer was the one you use?
    Gia Russa Tomato & Basil Sauce
    Gia Russa Alla Vodka Sauce
    Gia Russa Hot Sicilian Sauce
    Gia Russa Marinara Sauce

    Thanks.
    #19
    efuery
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/10 11:03:55 (permalink)
    I second Shen's reccomendation for Sclafani sauces . They are very good - I really like their vodka sauce. Colonna brand meat sauce isn't half bad either IMO.
    #20
    MandalayVA
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/10 12:10:24 (permalink)
    Perhaps I will be sent to Roadfood Hades, but I have been known to use and enjoy Newman's Own Sockerooni spaghetti sauce. I'm a sucker for peppers in tomato sauce, and it has a nice consistency and flavor. Rao's is good too--I'll use it in my crock pot on sausages or pot roast.
    #21
    curried bluebonnet
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/13 00:51:02 (permalink)
    Would prefer to use homeade, but on those sports/Scouts/gone all day nights, sometimes us busy moms have to resort to jarred. I'm with some of the others, whatever's on sale/coupon I might look into. Thought recently we had a Barilla that was really salty--hubby mentioned it and he salts everything--I mean everything! When it is a rushed dinner night and we are trying not to have fast food, jar sauce fits the bill, especially with homeade meatballs(from freezer) and decent pasta. Need to try some of the suggestions--Rao's ect.--have seen them in the store,but am too cheap to get them. I'll have to suck it up for flavors sake and give it a try--thanks for the ideas.
    #22
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/13 06:23:51 (permalink)
    I just picked up a couple bottles from First & Last Tavern in Hartford. If it only a fraction of how good it is in their restaurants when served over my pasta, I'll be thrilled.
    #23
    douginvirginia
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/13 09:39:01 (permalink)
    Like others I normally make my own, butI like Mario Batali's basic, and some of the Trader Joe's are ok in a pinch. I'd never pay more than $2 - $3.
    #24
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/13 13:05:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by douginvirginia

    Like others I normally make my own, butI like Mario Batali's basic, and some of the Trader Joe's are ok in a pinch. I'd never pay more than $2 - $3.


    And that's exactly why I'm here. I'l pay, so you don't have tooooooooooo...

    Will head to the store this weekend for 2 new sauce choices.
    I also need to head out to Jungle Jim's (those "in the know", know) and see what they stock.

    Forward into the fog on this little thread.
    #25
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/13 13:13:31 (permalink)
    Oh, on a quick note.
    If anyone is willing to buy and ship me a can or two of Sclafani sauce as mentioned (since it's been brought up a couple oc times) , I will recipricate by sending back a some cans of Cincinnati style chili (Skyline, Gold Star, Dixie, etc.) so you can taste what the hub-bub is about.
    I cannot find Sclafani locally and buying a case is not an option.
    Thanks.
    #26
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/16 23:13:27 (permalink)
    Well, I had to head to the local Bigg's to pick up a bottle of Buddy Roadhouse's BBQ sauce, so I thought I'd indulge in another 24oz. of "tomatoey goodness" so you don't have to.

    Gia Russa Alla Vodka Sauce
    24oz. $6.99
    http://www.giarussa.com/GiaRussa/Sauces/SauceDefault.aspx
    Ohio distributor, but still unsure of product manufacturer locale

    I waffled between the Gia Russa vodka and hot sicilian sauce for a good 10 minutes. That should give you some idea where this tale begins. I chose the vodka sauce mainly because I hope that for the price, a little more TLC goes into it by each sauce maker with the addition of vodka and cream. As many pointed out above, and I agree, for the price, this better be good.
    Well, perhaps I have done too much testing lately, or, even more to the point, BECAUSE I have done so much tasting lately, things are starting to taste alike. Thus, I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

    In it's room temperature state, the sauce smelled of fresh tomatoes and matched the lightly chunky consistancy I like. After heated and then tossed with pasta as the others, I felt while it did have a creamy consistancy and nice mild spice makeup, the jarring process took away from the freshness factor by a great deal. If tested side-by-side with others above, I would be hard pressed to guess which sauce maker this was from. That, is not a good thing.

    While this was something that I would be in no way embarassed to serve to guests as a side dish to a meat course, for the price, it is very underwhelming when compared to Emeril sauces at half the price. I do want to try the Gia Russa spicy sicilian, but my accountant will let me know when that window of opportunity will open. Some above mentioned the quality of Gia Russa, and I do think that the ingredients are superb, I just found this particular sauce to be one that did not meet the $7 per jar "law of economics."
    I am starting to believe a lot of the fresh tomato taste is lost in the packing process, so I may do a homemade Vodka sauce (Giada from the food network had one that make work with some mods) as a beta test for a few friends and see how that goes.

    BTW, did literally cringe at paying the price above, but....no guts no glory.

    Hope this helps.

    jjjrfoodie
    #27
    PCC
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/17 00:00:42 (permalink)
    I like Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro Arrabbiata.
    #28
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/18 22:39:47 (permalink)
    Seems the local Bigg's carries
    Sclafani Filetto Di Pomodoro Sauce and
    Sclafani  All Purpose Tomato Basil Sauce
    $5.49 ea.

    Looks like this is next on my list sometime this week since a few of you have recommended it.

    2 or 3 more jars and I need a break.

    Jerry
    #29
    Tommy B
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 144
    • Joined: 2001/12/21 07:15:00
    • Location: Parsippany, NJ
    • Status: offline
    RE: Jar Pasta Sauces(High End)-Begin the reviews 2006/04/18 23:40:02 (permalink)
    Newman's Own "Sausage and Peppers" is simply delicious.

    Excellent with Rigatoni, accompanied with italian bread from Calandra's Bakery in Fairfield, NJ...
    #30
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