Dec 15 2008

Review: Rao’s Pasta Sauces

Published by at 4:43 am under General,Products,Reviews

A friend of mine here in Los Angeles, who runs a home-based catering company that delivers single serving meals to private homes recently turned me on to the New York based Rao’s Specialty Foods company.

Rao’s is perhaps the most exclusive restaurant in East Harlem, New York.  You can’t call and reserve a table – you have to be invited by the “owner” of one of the restaurant’s eight tables!   There is an actual online guide at SoYouWanna for how to attempt to get a seat at Rao’s.  The good news is, it may be easier to get in after they open their second location at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Only recently the Rao’s family’s all-natural pasta sauces got picked up by the major grocery distributors and so you can now get a sampling of their catalog off the shelves at Ralph’s grocery stores.

On first look, I was a little shocked to see that a 15 oz jar of Rao’s Marinara Sauce cost almost twice the price of a jar of Newman’s Own, but I had to try it based on my friend’s reaction.

I cooked up some whole wheat angel hair pasta (the kind that has only one ingredient – durum semolina) and heated up the sauce in a small pot.

As soon as I put it to my lips, I began to smile.  It was the real deal; sweet with a bit of tanginess, light as air as opposed to sticky or pulpy or pasty, and utterly delicious.

The label states that the organic tomatoes used in the sauce are imported from Italy.  Beyond that I saw no artificial preservatives or byproducts.  The stuff is blissfully good.

See for yourself: simple and top-quality ingredients make up Rao's incredible pasta sauces

See for yourself: simple and top-quality ingredients make up Rao's incredible pasta sauces

Here is what the Rao’s pasta menu looks like (from their website):

Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce—An all-natural pasta sauce blending imported sweet tomatoes from Italy, imported olive oil, sweet onions, fresh basil, fresh garlic, crushed black pepper, salt, and fresh oregano. Not only perfect for pasta, but also wonderful for preparing classic Italian dishes with shrimp, veal, steak, chicken, pork, and vegetables. Available in three sizes – 16 oz., 24 oz. and 32 oz. jars.

Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce – The spice of imported crushed red pepper. Hot and perfect for pasta and seafood.

Rao’s Homemade Cuore Di Pomodoro Sauce – Heart of the Tomato” Filetto Sauce with tomato, prosciutto and onion.

Rao’s Homemade Puttanesca  Sauce – An exciting combination of tomatoes, capers, anchovies and olives.

Rao’s Homemade Roasted Eggplant (Siciliana) Sauce – Our famous marinara sauce with the addition of freshly roasted eggplant. Can be used as a baking sauce.

Rao’s Southern Italian Pepper and Mushroom Sauce – made with imported tomatoes, fresh red and green peppers, fresh mushrooms with a hint of white wine.

Rao’s Homemade Vodka Sauce – A velvet blend of tomatoes, imported cheese, and vodka.

NEW! Rao’s Dinner to Go Sausage and Mushroom Sauce – is a meal in a jar. Rao’s combines its premium quality  tomato sauce with Sweet Italian Sausage and fresh sliced mushrooms.

NEW! Rao’s Tomato Basil Sauce – As soon as a jar of Tomato Basil sauce is opened, the aromatic bouquet of fresh basil permeates the senses and awakens the taste buds.

Finally, it seems that purchasing the sauces directly from the company’s site is much more economical than buying it at the grocery store.  At Ralph’s (a local grocery store in LA) a single jar of the good stuff goes for almost US$13.00!  Thirteen bucks for a jar of spaghetti sauce?!?  At the Rao’s website, one the other hand, you can get a three-pack gift box for between $28-$33.00.

I love this stuff and wish I could fit it into my daily budget.  But for those special occasions when you want to impress – do yourself a favor and get familiar with this amazing brand.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Review: Rao’s Pasta Sauces”

  1. muralimanoharon 01 Feb 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I had a similar experience…I had no idea pasta sauce could really be that good. I mean, I make a mean homemade sauce, but having tried out a bottle we picked up from the gourmet shop, wow. That stuff was GOOD.

  2. MzSpeedyon 02 Oct 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Love at first taste! No other brand compares. Well worth the price. If you go to Rao’s website and join their email list, they’ll send you alerts about sales, new products and general updates. A couple of times a year, they have a case of 12-32oz jars for around $100 with shipping included. It’s the best value I’ve ever found anywhere. I’ve used this sauce in many dishes and I’m also guilty of eating this straight from the jar with fresh bread from the bakery.

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