Ok, first off: I've never been a jarred sauce fan. I sometimes use the little cans of tomato sauce in recipes, but I don't think that really counts since it doesn't really have seasoning to speak of. And I don't think they are really meant to be used as is on stuff... at least I hope not. I usually find the stuff that you're supposed to use as is either too bland, too sweet or a combination of the two (or some other horrid infraction). Plus I really enjoy making tomato sauce, so why would I buy it? Well, for convenience I suppose. But I never did. Then Napa Valley Bistro wants to send me some free samples. It's been years since I've had a jarred sauce, so I figure what the hell. Plus if all their claims are true, it's probably at least palatable. So how was it? It was surprisingly good. It's not how I would season it, but if I wanted sauce seasoned how I do it why would I bother to buy it? It had a very strong flavor, you could really taste the garlic, tomatoes and wine, but it wasn't boozy. It claims to be made with fresh herbs and I totally believe it. It didn't taste anything like the jarred sauces I have had before. Here's what I did with it.
My girlfriend wanted a meat sauce, so I browned up some hamburger and just dumped the jar of sauce into the pan to heat up. I made some ziti and portioned her out some. I didn't really want just a bowl full of pasta. I wanted baked ziti. This isn't the way I normally make baked ziti (which I've made some changes too, I need to update that post), but it's a fine method. I just mixed up some sauce and pasta, covered it with mozzarella, sprinkled on some parm and baked it at 450 till it was nice and brown. Since the sauce had such a strong flavor I wanted to see how it hold up to all that cheese. It held up just fine. It was even better the second day.But would I actually pay money for it? Yeah, I think I would. I could see having a jar of this in the pantry for nights when I don't have the time or inclination to make sauce myself.