This $10 Jarred Pasta Sauce Is Worth Every Penny — Here’s Why

updated Dec 19, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Volo

Anytime I go home to New Jersey, I’ll likely find my mom standing over the stove, stirring four restaurant-sized stockpots of homemade tomato sauce. Mom, if you’re reading this, I kindly ask that you stop before getting too deep into this glowing review of (gasp) jarred pasta sauce.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’m here to rave about a line of jarred pasta sauces from acclaimed New York City restaurant Carbone. I’ve tasted many a jarred pasta sauce in my day, and most of the time they taste inferior to the homemade sauce I grew up enjoying — with a few exceptions, of course. I thought nothing could ever hold a candle to Rao’s, which is so delicious that I can (and often do) eat it with a spoon. And then I tasted Carbone’s version.

Credit: Lauren Masur

For the uninitiated, Carbone is a fancy-schmancy NYC-based Italian-American restaurant where it’s notoriously difficult to score a reservation. Despite living blocks away from it, and walking past it often, I’ve never set foot inside. Perhaps post-COVID I will put that on my bucket list, but in the meantime, Carbone’s bottled sauces will more than tide me over.

Credit: Lauren Masur

I tested the Marinara version because if you mess up the simplest of pasta sauces, it doesn’t bode well for the others. And speaking of the others, Carbone sells jars of Marinara Delicato, Tomato Basil, Arrabbiata, Mushroom, and Roasted Garlic.

One taste of the Marinara and all I can say is wow. The hardest part of this very objective taste test was waiting for the water to boil for the spaghetti, and I only say this because I snuck a taste of the sauce right out of the jar and couldn’t wait to keep eating more. I forced myself to make a full meal, though (no eating sauce like it’s soup!).

Credit: Lauren Masur

One box of thin spaghetti plus a full jar of Carbone’s marinara yielded the perfect noodle-to-sauce ratio. I tossed the noodles with the sauce and didn’t have a singly dry or clumpy patch. Again, this sauce is good. It’s made with the same ingredients that you’d find in homemade sauce (Italian whole peeled tomatoes, tomato purée, onions, olive oil, sea salt, basil, garlic, and oregano), which is why it has an undeniable homemade appeal. I appreciate the fact that there’s no sugar in this recipe, either. Honestly, it tastes just like my mom’s!

If you’re looking to get your hands on a jar, you can order online at Amazon starting at $9.99 per 24-ounce jar, or grab a two-pack at starting at $23.99. The price tag might give you sticker shock for a jarred pasta sauce, but the contents inside are restaurant-quality. If you’re looking for the answer to a super easy pasta dinner, this is it.

Buy: Carbone Marinara Pasta Sauce, $9.99 for 24-ounces at Amazon

What’s your favorite jarred pasta sauce?