Like a lot of people, I grew up on
bottled pasta sauces like Prego and
They were good, economical and
convenient, and helped my overworked mom
get dinner on the table night after
I still have a soft spot for those
ubiquitous brands. But in years since,
with no kids of my own (yet) clamoring
for dinner, Iíve stayed away from
bottled pasta sauces as a rule.
My default spaghetti sauce is made from
canned tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.
Not only does it taste better than oh,
say, 90 percent of the bottled sauces on
the market, itís almost as easy to
Sure, Iíve been tempted by the recent
profusion of gourmet pasta sauces in the
But every time my hand has reached for a
15-ounce bottle of boutique sauce, itís
been stayed by the $10 price tag.
Well, last year I received samples of
two new pasta sauces by mail.
They were from Lucini, whose olive oils
and vinegars I had tried and enjoyed.
And since the pasta sauces ó Rustic
Tomato Basil and Hearty Artichoke Tomato
ó were already in my kitchen, I gladly
gave them a whirl.
Know what? They were really good. I
couldnít resist pressing a clove of
fresh garlic into each, but even without
the doctoring, they were flavorful and
Moreover, at $7.99 per 25.5-ounce
bottle, they were spendy but not
exorbitant ó priced well in line with
their quality and convenience.
So count me on the gourmet pasta sauce
Lucini makes five flavors of pasta
sauce. In the Kyrene Corridor and
surrounding area, you can find Lucini
sauces at many Fryís and Wild Oats
locations. Iíve also seen Lucini oil and
vinegars at Whole Foods.
The sauces are great as-is over pasta
(particularly the chunky
artichoke-tomato sauce, which has enough
texture and flavor to stand on its own).
If, like me, you canít resist some
tinkering, sautť a pressed garlic clove
in some olive oil in the pan you use to
heat the sauce. Stir in a few drops of
balsamic vinegar just before serving.
For a good, healthy, one-dish meal, mix
chopped cooked vegetables ó like
broccoli florets ó into the sauce before
serving over pasta.
Or use the sauce to simplify a more
elaborate meal. Lucini was kind enough
to send me a few recipes, and I took a
shine to this one: Scallops with Lucini
Spicy Tuscan Tomato Sauce.
Hereís what you do. Heat two tablespoons
of olive oil in a heavy skillet over
When the pan is hot, season 12 large
scallops with salt and pepper and sear
for two to three minutes per side.
Remove the lightly browned scallops to a
Now add one teaspoon of olive oil to the
pan. Add two minced garlic cloves and
two tablespoons of minced fresh
rosemary. Sautť for two minutes over
medium heat; do not allow the garlic to
Add two cups of Lucini Spicy Tuscan
Tomato Sauce and heat through. Donít
allow the sauce to boil. Serve the
scallops over the sauce, garnishing with
a fresh rosemary sprig, if youíd like.
This serves two to four as a main dish;
six to 12 as an appetizer.
Bottled pasta sauce has come a long way,