Pasta Sauce


Story Details

In the land of meat pies and Holden cars, the unthinkable has happened.... pasta or more specifically spaghetti Bolognese, is now Australia's favourite family meal.

No surprise to Leo Puglese, he's been run off his feet meeting orders since opening his Pasta Go Go takeaway in Unley three years ago.

Aussies eat about 4 kilograms of pasta each year. We rank 24th in the world, still way behind the pasta kings the Italians, who consume a massive 28.5 kilos per head.

It's a market worth hundreds of millions of dollars with dozens of imported brands fighting it out on supermarket shelves against our biggest local pasta maker and exporter San Remo.

There's also been a explosion in ready-made pasta sauces of every description making it simple for anyone to cook up a quick and nutritious meal.

But are they as good as they look on those labels?

Well we've put them to a taste test with our three judges… Salvatore Pepe is a Masterchef of Italian cuisine, a co-founder of the Cibo coffee empire and a best selling cookbook author.

What does Salvatore think makes a good pasta sauce?
“The ingredients…60% ingredients and 40% ability.”

Joe Avati makes a living as a comedian sending up his Italian heritage but he also holds an honours degree in food science.

And radio star Amanda Blair… a mum who cooks for a hungry horde of four kids and a doctor husband.

We bought twenty three imported and local brands for our survey selecting the more popular plain tomato or Napolitana variety.

Now to our results and our experts failed an amazing 70 per cent of the brands they tried. They included all the ones made specifically for the big two supermarket giants Coles and Woolies, whose home brand chunky sauce achieved the lowest score.

Just eight made the grade. Four of them are imports from Italy with the stand outs being the winner Sacla original cherry tomato and basil. Then Bertoli's provista sugo classica and Jensen's organic bolognese.

But nothing beats making it yourself, here's Sal Pepe's simple recipe tip.

“Clove of garlic, not even chopped, fried in olive oil then peeled. Tomato or passata, basil leaves… simple as that in a frypan cook for 5 mins,” says Sal.