Friday, September 9, 2016

Know what's in your bottled sauce when making penne with sardines

Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Penne with Victoria Marinara Sauce, skinless-and-boneless sardines, anchovies and cherry tomatoes.


The half-dozen ingredients in Victoria Marinara Sauce invite you to improvise.

I often add extra-virgin olive oil, a few ounces of red wine, drained and rinsed anchovies, and seasonings, including powdered garlic, ground black pepper, red-pepper flakes and dried Italian herbs.

Then, I thicken the sauce with three or four cans of heart-healthy sardines with their oil that I mash with a fork first, plus fresh cherry tomatoes, and fresh mint and basil from my garden.

Even if you leave a few ounces of marinara in the 40-ounce bottle with which to poach eggs, you'll have plenty of sauce for 1 pound of Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Penne from Italy or other shape of organic whole wheat pasta.

Cooking times, salt

ShopRite, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's, all in Paramus, stock 1-pound packages of organic whole wheat pasta in various shapes ($1.29 or $1.49).

Not all of the cooking times listed on the packages are reliable, and I've found Whole Foods' imported whole wheat pasta cooks up al dente in much less time than listed, especially the shells.

No need to add salt to the water; there is plenty of sodium in bottled sauces, as well as in anchovies and sardines.

Victoria doesn't add sugar to its sauce, but it's getting harder and harder to find other brands without the sweetener. 

I even saw one brand with butter as the second ingredient after tomatoes.

Two organic eggs poached in leftover Victoria Marinara Sauce with grated cheese and smoked wild salmon, above. I ate them for breakfast over leftover organic whole wheat penne with sardines, below.

The ingredients listed on the front label of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce, sold by Costco Wholesale, differ slightly from the version sold in supermarkets. No added sugar is a big draw.
ShopRite in Paramus had a sale this week on Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce without added sugar in 24-ounce jars ($1.49 each), but only reading the ingredients label would tell you the Traditional Sweet Basil, right, has added sugar.

You'll also find added sugar in all of these other Classico Pasta Sauces.

When I read the label on Bongiovi Pasta Sauce, also sold at the Paramus ShopRite, I was shocked to see butter as the second ingredient after Italian tomatoes.
At Jerry's Gourmet & More, 410 S. Dean St. in Englewood, I found another take on pasta with sardines in this restaurant-quality Meal To Go, below.

I plated and reheated all but the Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese. The complete dinners are reduced to $5.99 after 4 p.m., if there are any left.

Jerry's also had small jars of fruit with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, and the apricot and plums I bought would pair nicely with the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese I buy at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro.

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