Well, as promised, I picked up a jar of Sclafani’s sauce as many of you had raved about and had two samplings, one yesterday for dinner and one tonite.
Sclafani Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Sclafani Distributors, Norwalk, CT
While the price seemed high, keep in mind most jars only pack 24 to 26oz of sauce, so you are getting 1/4 more sauce , so think of it as a 24oz jar at $4.49. At that price, it is indeed compelling.
Sauce right out of the jar was bright and very fresh tasting. Consistency was slightly course, but with little or no large pieces of tomatoes, as if it had been put through a food mill., but not a food processor. I, for one, like this consistency for everything but a marinara or sausage and peppers sauce, so I give it high marks for texture.
Both cold and heated, this sauce is the freshest tasting I have had so far. A little bit of discolored sauce on the lid and jar neck made me think I had a bad jar, but my guess is that this sauce is not packed to the high heat levels that others are and hence it’s ability to stay so lively. If there was a down-side, I’d say that that this sauce was too lightly spiced. I could taste the romas as well as the tomato paste, garlic and fresh basil, it’s just that there was very little commitment to any spicing at all (and very little oregano as well—thank heavens for me.) Not a deal-breaker, and in fact, let it unleash your creative side. (But one would like to think the chef and creators would have al least went down a path to some flavor destination…)
After I made one meal of plain sauce and pasta , and tonite’s meal I added ground sausage, roasted garlic cloves and red pepper flakes, my assessment is this: this is a great sauce that assumes a role as a blank canvas. Plain, it is great (albeit pricey) for kid tastes. Add some spices of your choosing and some meat, basil or fresh herbs or condiments such as olives and it becomes your “own” sauce. I would bet a dime to a dollar that any guests you had over would say you made it from scratch and I'm not sure I would say that about many jar sauces I have had. As a baking sauce for lasagna or manicotti, it would be perfect.
If I cannot make my own sauce in a pinch and need a pantry item for a simple all purpose sauce, this is well worth keeping around... (but I dunno, that 6-pack of Shiner Bock is tempting at $5.99 as well)
Hope this helps.
As a side note, I am still eating up the Gia Russa Vodka Sauce (see, this is not all fun and games), but I added a scant bit of cooked leftover pancetta as well as a splash of regular milk and it added flavor as well as helped to thin out the sauce which seems to be a very common problem of the expensive jar type sauces. I'm trying to keep fat and calories down with out-of-the-jar sauce portions, and thinning them a bit and adding healthy additions seems to be working for me.
My $. 02.
"Am I smart? Heck, I'm like the brightest tool in the shed."