Store-bought tomato sauce? Norma Panetta wouldn't think of it! Norma Panetta, "I've had it in other people's houses that they opened up a jar. Fine, you can have it. I'll eat it, but I won't buy it. Making her own is a family tradition. Of course, if you don't have Norma, or the time, you might wonder which jarred sauces come close to homemade. Consumer Reports just tested 20 from big names like Prego, Ragu, Bertolli, Barilla, and Francesco Rinaldi. PRON: Also tested - two celebrity-chef sauces from Giada De Laurentiis and Mario Batali. And to round things off … two store brands from Walmart and Whole Foods. Amy Keating, "We want to key in on things like tomato-intensity flavor, a level sourness, sweetness or saltiness, whether an herb is fresh or dried." Testers at Consumer Reports spent weeks blind taste testing the sauces. Amy Keating Consumer Reports Amy Keating "An excellent sauce should have a flavor of ripe tomatoes. It should have a freshly prepared impression, and the flavors should be balanced." Test results were mixed. For instance Hunt's Traditional - the least expensive sauce - was the least tasty. Amy Keating "It had a sourness to it as well as a soapy, perfumey off-note."
And Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Classic Marinara Pasta Sauce wasn't much better. But don't despair! Amy Keating "The top sauces that we rated tasted freshly prepared and could pass for homemade or restaurant fare." One of the best at a good price -Giada De Laurentiis' Tomato Basil Sauce from Target. Amy Keating "It's excellent. It's well balanced, tastes very fresh, and has a buttery richness." If you don't have a Target near you, two other marinara sauces rated excellent from Victoria and Mario Batali.
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