Tag Archives: pasta sauce

Carando Meatballs + Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce Reviews

Won’t buy again

Last time I made ravioli, I paired them with Signature Reserve Tomato, Porcini & Black Truffle Pasta Sauce ($6, on sale for $4 for 21 oz jar at Safeway) and Carando spicy Sicilian meatballs. I suspected the combination wasn’t going to work and it didn’t – but I also tasted each ingredient separately and I was not impressed with either the sauce or the meatballs.

Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce Tomato Porcini & Black Truffle - 21.2 Oz

Signature Reserve appears to be a premium version of Safeway/Albertson’s store brand. They cost more than twice than regular Signature pasta sauces and this one, at least, was imported from Italy and claimed to be made from a “Porchettini family recipe”. I’m not sure who they are, but a recipe needs to come from someone or other.

This particular sauce wasn’t bad, if you really like the flavor of artificial truffle. Basically what you get is a pretty fresh, tomato forward sauce, immediately followed by an intense black truffle flavor that lingers on. Now, I learned last year that the flavors of actual truffles and artificial truffle is quite different, and what most of us understand as black truffle is artificial – so I was expecting this sauce to taste that way. Perhaps not as intensely as it does, however. It’s not bad, but the truffle in the sauce will obfuscate any other flavor that surrounds it.

While I wouldn’t order this particular pasta sauce again, I might try one of the other ones – they have at least five other flavors.

Carando Meatballs Italian Style Sicilian Recipe Hot - 16 Oz

I am a huge fan of meatballs but I don’t make them often enough because if I have ground beef and I’m going to eat it with pasta, I end up making a meatball instead and then it feels redundant. I figured that if I buy the meatballs already made, I could would just eat them with pasta and store-bought tomato sauce for a very quick dinner. I have yet to find a good brand of refrigerated or frozen meatballs however and these, despite its fancy packaging, weren’t them.

The main problem is that they are too dense and heavy. Indeed, these meatballs only contain ground pork, cheese and spices. They don’t have bread to make them light and airy. Baking them as per the instructions, doesn’t contribute to making them any lighter.

I wasn’t thrilled by the flavor either, but that’s my fault for buying spicy meatballs. Who knows what prompted me to do that. Still, having tried them their dense consistency is enough of a deterrent to try any other flavors.

Creamy Pesto Sauce Recipe

My basil has been incredible this year – at least the one I keep by my kitchen window. It started from a small pot I got at the supermarket in the spring and since then it’s grown, grown and grown. It’s done significantly better than the basil we’re keeping on a pot inside.

And what better to do with basil than to make creamy pesto? The recipe below is very basic but it works. You may need to use less Parmesan-Romano cheese if you use a high quality one – I just went with a pre-shredded supermarket brand because it’s cheap and easy. I used walnuts, as I already had them, and they’re far cheaper than pine nuts – but, of course, pine nuts are tastier and more traditional.

If you are looking for a vegan version, try this one.

Creamy Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, 3 whole and 2 minced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan-Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for sautéing
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Using an electric food processor, puree the basil leaves, whole garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts and salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a small saucepan. Add the chopped garlic and sauteé for 30 seconds. Add the pesto sauce and sauteé for another 30 seconds. Add the cream and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.

Cucina & Amore Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce

I got this pasta sauce at Grocery Outlet ($2 for a 17.6 oz box) because I was looking for a higher-quality pasta sauce to go with a dish I was making for dinner.  This sauce, made in Italy, contains all natural ingredients: tomatoes, tomato paste, sweet red peppers, evoo, anchovy paste, salt, parsley, garlic, sugar and chili powder.   The results is a very nice and fresh tasting sauce, with a strong (but pleasant) red pepper flavor.  My daughter found the sauce too sour, and I have to agree with her though that wasn’t a problem with me.  It didn’t go well with the dish I made, the flavor of the sauce is too strong to mix in with other ingredients, but I think it’d be pleasant enough by itself.  At $2 for basically 2-cups worth of sauce it’s a pretty expensive for a place like Grocery Outlet, but I think it’s worth it.

Note, because the sauce comes in a box rather than a jar, you can’t actually reseal it so plan to use it quickly.

Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream

I got this recipe for Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream from epicurious.com (where else?) and quite enjoyed it. This is comfort food at its best, nothing out of this world or fancy but it can really hit the spot.

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, loose
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • salt & pepper

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ausage and saute until it’s no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft and the sausage has browned, about 3 more minutes. Mix in the tomato and cream, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve on pasta with Parmesan cheese.

Marga’s Best Recipes