I got to agree with earlier posts - make your own and it'll be heaps better. If you're really lazy and want to make something super quick, just boil your pasta, strain it (but leave a tablespoon of water at the bottom), then splash in some good extra virgin olive oil, a spoon of butter and mix it around. Then add some fresh grated parmesan (not the cheap and nasty pre-grated stuff), something like Parmigiano Reggiano.
If you want to spice it up, throw in your favourite chilli, or some roquette, or mushrooms, or chicken, or anything else you have laying around. Veggies are good for you.
In it's basic form it takes about two minutes to throw this together, and is absolutely wonderful on the palette due to its simplicity.
I really like the Trader Giotti's (Trader Joe's) brand Rustico Pomodoro pasta sauce. It's made with Italian plum tomatoes and has small mushroom and bell pepper chunks in it. It's higher quality than most other sauces I've tried, including Classico. But you can't beat Classico for the value, a 3-pack of huge jars at Costco is under $7.
Originally Posted by c0mfortably_numb /img/forum/go_quote.gif According to Americas Test Kitchen they rated Barilla Marinara the best. I've used it and it's good, but lately I have been using Newmans Own organic marinara sauce.
I've used the barilla brand a lot, its great. I'm now into their tomato and basil sauce, its delicious.
x2 on Chiliman's pesto (though I add some coarse salt too). I find that the key to getting fantastic pesto is stopping the food processor to taste frequently. I start with basil and a little olive oil, then add the other ingredients until the taste and consistency are right. I reserve some of the pine nuts until late in the blend so I have more control over texture - a slightly coarser chop gives you more body.
And I agree with the sentiments above that there's nothing like making your own sauce. Not only is it great-tasting and inexpensive, it makes your kitchen smell good in a way that no sauce from a jar ever does.
Boil up your noodles and drain
Half a cup of cream goes in the pot, add a dab of butter
Cook the cream until it starts to thicken
Stir in the noodles
Dump out on a plate and grate some Parmesan cheese on top
Originally Posted by jdimitri /img/forum/go_quote.gif Make them man, it takes like 5-10 mins and you can put whatever you want in it
Love mine with mushrooms
I make my own sauce to, and indeed it's best to make your own as you control what goes in the pot, but sometimes there just isn't enough time. When making a red sauce, you can't just throw it together and eat it, well you could but it won't taste very good. Red sauce is best when it has had time to simmer (several hours) If I'm thinking ahead I usually try to make extra and freeze it
If you do decide to make your own tomato sauce, try to go to an Italian market or gourmet supermarket and look for San Marzano tomatoes (in cans). They really make a difference IMHO.
I prefer making my own sauce. For pesto, I throw cilantro, parsley, and pine nuts into the food processor. Mix with olive oil and that's some seriously tasty sauce right there. And I try just about every other sauce I can come up with too - mushroom, green veggies only, broccoli-only, clam sauce with wine...the possibilities are as limitless as there are number of ingredients.
Though those Barilla and Classico brands are excellent too when you don't have time to come up with your own creation.
Reminds me I should scope out where to buy fresh tomatoes around here so I can go back to my home-made sauce creations, been winging by on the Barilla and Classico so far.
There's nothing like coming up with your own sauce from fresh tomatoes! Slice 'em, dice 'em, throw them into a food processor if you want (I do that 50% of the time), instant healthy sauce, no preservatives added! In fact, I find that diced tomatoes alone is a quick and easy alternative to any bottled sauce, just as quick and definitely healthier.