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I have been cooking and eating a lot of pasta recently and I normally buy the tomato sauces from ASDA as they are of a good standard and you get a decent quantity for your money. When I was browsing the shelves though I noticed the Lloyd Grossman sauces were on promotion for a pound a jar and so I selected a couple, one of those being the tomato & basil variety.
A quote on the label states "I love the classic combination of sun ripened tomatoes and fragrant basil in this sauce" which I assume was uttered by the man himself and this raises the expectation that this is a quality product. The glass jar along with the metal lid can be recycled.
The weight of this is 350g with half a jar containing 105 calories. The typical nutritional values for 100g are 60 calories and 3.4g of fat. I was preparing a meal for just myself and I found that I had to use a bit more than half the jar. I browned the mince and onions I was using and then added the sauce which I simmer for a while. I could really pick up the smell of the basil and at first I was a little concerned because it was overpowering and I thought it might be too much but after simmering this settled and was no longer the case. The sauce looked rich and red in colour no doubt due to the fact it contains 60% tomatoes and all in all it seems to contain natural ingredients.
Once added to the pasta it tasted great and I enjoyed it thoroughly and the different flavours were in balance, the basil presence was not too strong as I feared at the beginning of preparation. It is of a very good quality and normally a jar is priced at £1.66 on the Tesco website but it appears there are quite often promotional deals as regards the Lloyd Grossman range of sauces.
At the promotional price I would buy this but it does not taste significantly better enough in my opinion to warrant paying the higher cost especially once it is mixed with the mince and pasta and I have to be careful with my budget currently.
I've a number of pasta sauces previously but had never tried this Loyd Grossman one before so I decided to remedy the situation and see how it compared to other sauces I've tried.
The sauce comes in a glass jar with a picture of Loyd Grossman on the front along with the ingredients, nutritional information, cooking information and contact details on other parts of the label. The jar is topped with the usual screw top lid and the best before date is printed on the neck of the jar.
Nutritional Information per 100g serving
Energy kJ: 374kJ
of which sugars: 7.1g
(of which saturates): 0.7g
Equivalent as salt: 1.3g
This product is produced in a factory handling nuts and sesame seeds.
Tomatoes in Juice (75%), Tomato Paste, Sunflower Oil, Garlic Puree (3.1%), Basil (2.8%), Sugar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Ground Black Pepper.
Taste & Opinion:
Making pasta at home is sometimes slightly problematical as Boyfriend prefers mushroom based sauces whereas I prefer ones that are tomato based. He does however eat tomato based sauces more often that I eat mushroom based ones.
Part of the problem with tomato based sauces is that they can be a little bland. Tomato isn't the most flavoursome of fruits so there's a great variation in the taste of the various tomato based sauces that are available to buy depending on what else the manufacturer in question has chosen to add to the tomato base.
The sauce in the jar is the usual deep red colour that you'd expect from a tomato based sauce and you can see the little green bits of basil that make up part of the recipe. The label states that "separation of ingredients is natural" and this did indeed take place. The jar advises that we "shake well before use" which I did.
Perhaps the first thing you notice on opening the jar is that this is a reasonably thick pasta sauce. It by no means as watery as some of the cheaper own brand versions that some of the supermarkets stock which is a good thing. Thin, watery pasta sauces do not impress me at all.
After warming the sauce and pouring over the pasta it was time for the taste test. I found this to be one of the nicest tomato based sauces I've tasted for a long time. The basil, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and black pepper all combine to give the sauce a bit of an "edge". That's not to say that this is a hot sauce, because it isn't, just that the ingredients used all work well together to create a tasty, distinctive flavoured sauce rather than one that just tastes bland and a bit cheap.
Looking at the ingredients listed this sauce also scores well from me because there are no additives or preservatives listed. No dread "E" numbers and nothing with a very long, practically unpronouceable scientific sounding name. It's made from the short of ingredients you might use yourself if you were making a sauce from scratch at home.
The side of the jar states that this should be used within three days of opening but we used all of this at the same time so we had no need to concern ourselves with time limits.
If you're looking for a tasty tomato based pasta sauce and haven't yet sampled this then give it a try. You won't be disappointed.
Loyd Grossman Tomato and Basil Sauce
Price: £1.61 (average at time of writing)
- Tomato Puree (26%)
- Tomatoes (16%)
- Double Cream
- Shallot Puree (3%)
- Maize Starch
- Potato Starch
- Modified Maize Starch
- Concentrated Lemon Juice
- Garlic Puree
- Basil Extract
- Black Pepper
- Paprika Extract
193KJ / 46Kcal
(of which sugars)
(of which saturates)
As usual Loyd Grossman is on the front of the colour coordinated packaging (red and green representing tomato and basil on a white backdrop), this time he is taking a whiff of an assortment of herbs! Then we have an infamous quote from the wise one himself; "I love the classic combination of sun riped tomatoes and fragnant basil in this sauce". So do we Loyd, so do we! On the back we have more advice from the grand master "Creating a great pasta is all about detail..." etc etc. Then we have the usual basic cooking tip along the lines of "heat the sauce, add the pasta, eat"...At least this sauce is idiot-proof then!
So how does it taste? I feel they've got the balance of tomatoes and basil spot on. I don't really like food or sauces that are overpowered by the taste of the basil, for me it should sit in the background to give the food depth and subtle flavour. I regulary buy this and use it to cook a quick lunch with some of the 2 minute Tortilleno available at all the popular supermarkets, then grate some cheese and pour the sauce over it melting the cheese onto the tortilleno.
This sauce also tends to last about a week in the fridge before becoming a little bit off and the ingredients seperate. The back of the jar tells us 3 days, so this is a definite plus.
Overall, this a simple but tasty sauce that only takes 2 minutes in a hop to make, making it ideal for quick simple pasta based lunches though i'm not sure about using it in bolognase sauces; Perhaps Loyd's other sauces would be more suitable.
The price is also reasonable considering I personally only use about 1/3 of a bottle at a time.