Stylish notes on food :: Would you like some sugar with your pasta? (Which sauces to AVOID!)

It was Columbus Day so I thought we should celebrate with spaghetti and meatballs. But there was no time to make a sauce from scratch, because sometimes life's too busy. Or, frankly, as in my case, sometimes you're too lazy to make pasta sauce from scratch. While there's nothing like a good homemade pasta sauce, it does take time - you need to have the ingredients on hand or you need to be able to run out and get them and be home long enough to cook them. In a perfect world world my marinaras would be marinating and simmering for hours on end. But my world isn't perfect. And sometimes I need all the help I can get. And if that means buying jarred sauce, then so be it!

But I'm a snob about my food. I am verrrrrry particular about how things should taste. I want to taste my food. Not the fillers. I don't want it over or under seasoned and with all the food choices out there I am allowed to be fussy. I want great taste and a great price. And I read labels. Yeah, you could say I am one of those people. I don't deprive the kids of Oreos and Chips Ahoy but I want my sugar to be in the sweets and not in everything else I buy. It's that simple.

I love Rao's marinara sauces. Love them. But they can be pricey. At close to $8.00 a jar, I am trying to be more sensible in my marinara purchases. I love Rao's for many reasons, and one being there are so few ingredients in their sauces. Tomatoes, basil, some salt, olive oil, pepper... what else does a sauce need? Well, I was shocked when I started reading all the labels. Nearly EVERY SINGLE jar out there lists sugar as an ingredient and many list it as the 3rd ingredient in. Last I checked pasta sauce was not a dessert sauce.
In fact, of all the labels I had read I found just two with no sugar listed at all. I was most surprised and perhaps most saddened to discover that Newman's Own pasta sauces also contain sugar. It's not about flavor or doctoring up sauces, which I also love to do. Have a bottle of red, toss it in, why not?! But a bottle of sugar? Nope, no thanks.

And truth be told I was never one for the Ragus and Pregos, and now I won't buy Newman's Own either. Rao's is still my favorite, but a brand I had never heard of, Victoria's, rings in at significantly less, tastes fantastic and also has no sugar in its ingredients. And don't be fooled by the Organic versions. They're no less sweet with their "organic sugar."

The following two sauces have no sugar in them whatsoever and are really very good. 

If you live in Connecticut or lower Westchester County in New York, you may want to check out Stew Leonard's jarred pasta sauce with the Mama Leonard's label. We love this sauce! The price point is good, the product is on the same level as the two mentioned above and this sauce contains no sugar either.

So the next time you reach for your favorite pasta sauce, you may want to think twice!

There's really nothing at all like a homemade pasta sauce. I happen to love Rao's Marinara Sauce and their Vodka Sauce. And I can never go wrong with Ina's recipes. Plus she adds wine to her sauce! Seriously, these recipes are da bomb... Ok, I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend.

Do you have a favorite jarred pasta sauce? If it contains no sugar I would love to know what it is!