“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Sauces „
I love pasta - lets face it, when you're hungry, what could be easier to whip up than a big old bowl of pasta covered in sauce, either home made or shop brought . It's filling, it's satisfying, and it's a brilliant source of carbohydrates .
I normally like to make my own sauces , but sometimes I'm just far too lazy, or too strapped for time (most of my sauces involve a lot of herbs and a ton of time simmering ) and I see no shame in occasionally opting for something handy from a jar - in this case, Tescos Finest Puttanesca Sauce.
Now, it's a pretty famous fact, one many of you already know, that the name of this dish, Puttanesca, translates literally into 'whores pasta'. Whilst the fact that this is what it translates to is pretty clear, harder to pin down is WHY it got this name, or indeed, an exact specific recipe . There are many theories - for example, one theory tells us that the prostitutes whipped up a sauce generally based on tomato, anchovy and olives between clients , because it was so quick and easy . Another theory suggests that the hookers were only allowed to shop one day a week, so the recipe had to be based on store cupboard ingredients that didn't necessarily need to be used fresh. There is even one theory that the large amount of garlic involved in the recipe would stop clients breaking the no kissing rule .
However it got it's name, it's certainly an interesting name to have . And, despite there being many recipe variations of this online , it's generally accepted to be a tomato based sauce , with olives, anchovies, and onions included , along with a bit of chilli to give a kick.
Cooking this could not be easier - cook 400g of pasta , and then heat this sauce in a pan, stirring occasionally, and mix it in with the hot pasta . Pretty easy huh ? Personally, I like to make it a little more challenging for myself, and grate a little cheese on top - but there's no reason to make life difficult , it's just a personal preference . The jar recommends that this would serve four people, with each person taking in 120 calories and 9.8g of fat .
I say this jar lies. I dislike piddly little portions - I like great mountains of pasta that will fill me up for hours . This will obviously depend on if you are as much of a greedy guts as me, but I find their suggested portion size a little small .
However, I don't find the flavour small at all. Wow - you can really taste the tomato here, acid yet sweet, with just that tiny little hint of balsamic vinegar . There are some tender (but too small) pieces of onion, and some chunks of olive . Luckily the anchovy here is not too prominent, and certainly not chunky , but there are some lovely capers adding a touch of spice to the flavour, and a fair kick of chilli . I have to say, a wonderful tasting sauce .
Despite tasting brilliant, I personally would have liked a little more texture to it - some chunks to sink my teeth into . The olives and onions could have been cut larger, and perhaps even the tomato base could have done with being a little chunkier . I also would have liked more chilli (please note, I am a spice fiend) and would not have objected at all to a hefty bit of garlic being added in .
At 1.55 for a 340g jar, it's steeper than a lot of other products on the shelves . It is a very nice, good quality sauce, and although I found it lacking in texture, I would buy it again - I think, if someone had the raw ingredients at home, they could probably whip up a better sauce in terms of texture and flavour diversity , but if they didn't have time, this sauce would be a great stand in .
4 stars . One off for the price, which is higher than many other pasta sauces, and for the fact that this sauce lacked chunky textures.
A few weeks ago in Tesco I was looking for a change to our usual pasta sauce, and noticed the Tesco Finest range's prices were slightly lower than their competitors' posher sauces, so decided to splash out on a couple to try. By far the nicest so far has been this Puttanesca sauce, with its rich tomato and exceptionally tasty olives. It also contains capers and anchovies, although the anchovy taste is so subtle that it's pretty much lost in the richness of the general flavour. The oil used is sunflower rather than olive oil, which surprised me. How I use it is usually pretty much the same each time - shallow-frying an onion and some big chunks of mushroom in extra-virgin olive oil, adding some chicken (or occasionally beef, which is far nicer!), next the sauce and then some peas, then letting it simmer away for a bit while I cook the pasta. I usually use linguine, which we prefer over spaghetti as it gets nicely coated with sauce and seems to hold it better on its flatter surfaces. Interestingly, it's in one of these quite small jars (340g) that claims to serve 4. Well, with onion, mushrooms, meat and peas added, it makes a very satisfying, but not over-filling, main meal for the two for us, although I can imagine that with such a potent flavour it would stretch well over a larger quantity of pasta to make more servings.
The fine print:
Tomato (59%), Tomato Purée, Black Olives (9%), Onion, Sunflower Oil, Capers (2%), Sugar, Salt, White Wine, Balsamic Vinegar, Modified Maize Starch, Anchovy Paste, Dried Potato, Acidity Regulator (Lactic Acid), Natural Flavouring, Chilli Powder.
Balsamic Vinegar contains: Red Wine Vinegar, Cooked Must
As sold, per 100g it's 140kcal, with 11.5g of fat, but only 1.4g of that is saturated.
It's currently the highest-priced of the range, at £1.55, perhaps not surprising due to the ingredients. Since we enjoy this sauce so much, I'm confidently expecting them to discontinue it, since that's what normally seems to happen when we find something that we really like!
3/11/13 - inevitably change overtook this product, although nothing too drastic as it now contains chopped olives rather than the lovely whole ones that we initially enjoyed. We have however changed our allegiance to Mr Grossman as his sauces seem to be less fatty. I'm removing one star to reflect the slightly less auspicious ingredients, and the fact that I now realise how much 'floating' grease there is with this product compared to other brands.