In all fairness...

The homemade pasta sauce was amazing. It did, however, make WAY MORE than “enough to sauce more than a pound of pasta,” but no one here was complaining - they all loved it. I packed spaghetti in the kids’ lunches the next day, and they finished off the leftovers another time for snack. To make the recipe sweet enough for the tastes around here, I ended up using 1T of raw sugar (a little more than the recipe notes – or maybe not because raw sugar has larger granules and is probably roughly equivalent to 2t of white sugar), and I puréed the sauce in my new chrome KitchenAid blender because I was afraid it was too much (volume wise) for the food processor (yes, yes…I could have done it in two batches). Other than that, I followed the recipe to the letter.

Sidebar: One of my cousins wrote that she always makes and cans (jars!) her own sauce from her own, homegrown veggies and herbs. This is my goal for the spring/summer – to have a huge garden at this new house with its corresponding acreage. And a greenhouse. Oh, and some chickens. Fressssh eggs rule!

The only drawback to the recipe was how long it took to make. I know in the grand scheme of pasta sauces, one hour is a mere moment, but spaghetti has always been a quick, cop out meal for me. Boil the water…crack open a jar…throw in a few frozen turkey meatballs (thank goodeness I DON’T have an old Italian grandma – she’d probably bop me on the head with her ladle). I am not alone in this, as I heard the same thing from a few others. Fortunately, Cook’s Illustrated also extensively taste-tested jar sauces, so I thought I’d share a few.

In the January 2008 edition, tasters tested nine popular brands and this is what they found:

~Bertolli Tomato and Basil Sauce was noted as the best because it, “tasted the most like fresh-cooked tomatoes.”
~Next came Francesco Rinaldi Traditional Marinara (“thick consistency and good texture”) and Prego Marinara Italian Sauce because it did not have “that fake herb flavor.”
~Also recommended were Barilla Marinara Sauce, Newman's Own Marinara, and Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce.
~Highly NOT recommended was Ragú. “Ragú” is an Italian term (derived from the French word “ragoûter” meaning "to revive the taste”) for a meat-based sauce traditionally served with pasta. Ironically, this one was deemed very yucky. (my word – not theirs.)  I guess they missed the bus on that one.

As a note, I always use jar pasta sauce (usually Bertolli or Prego) when I make pizza.  It works very well on my homemade (or on ready-to-stretch dough in wheat or white from Trader Joes) crust topped with cheese and any array of miscellaneous toppings.

So, mash your own 'maters or some from a can or even pop a jar in a pinch - all have a healthy does of lycopene (an antioxidant thought by some to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis) as well as tons of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  I'm certain any old Italian Grandma would approve of that! 


  1. I agree about the Ragu. Its not a brand I ever buy but I stocked up last fall when I found a deal (of course!) and I was so happy when it was finally gone.

    If I had the fresh ingredients on hand (cheap) I would totally make and freeze my own sauce!

  2. Sometimes I forget and buy Ragu when I find a really good deal (just found a buy 2 get one free and they were $.99 - there's a reason), but I always "fix it up" with something - extra seasonings, meats, veggies (I especially love adding grated zucchini).