I was sent a nice package from a PR lady today, consisting of four tomato-related products from Dei Fratelli. I was sent two salsas- black bean and corn and Casera, and two tomato sauces- homestyle and tomato and basil.
I started up my pot and got my angel hair pasta cooking for the tomato sauces. I opted out of using parmesan cheese and oil so I could retain as much of the original texture and taste of the sauces as possible. Opening up the tomato and basil sauce, I was hit with a wonderful whiff of concentrated basil, really fresh-smelling, with the tomato smell coming up underneath. Delicious.
On the pasta, this came out just how I like pasta sauce- NOT CHUNKY. Other companies- do it this way. I hate chunks. I hate how they burst. Luckily, this was nothing chunky at all. Finely minced pieces of garlic and tomato could be seen, and it adhered to the pasta really well. Eating this was really good. The basil was a star player in the sauce, but mingled well with the tomatoes and didn’t overpower the taste at all. I would have liked to see a bit more garlic in this sauce, though.
The next sauce was the homestyle sauce. It was a little chunkier than the tomato and basil, and for some reason, seemed to have more basil pieces in the sauce than the other. This was strange to me, as a product that advertises basil in its name should certainly have more basil than one without. Regardless, I carried on. The sauce was not chunkier, but seemed to be thicker, like a tomato paste or puree consistency than a sauce.
It adhered well to the pasta, like its predecessor. One of the things I love about these sauces is that they just stuck really well. I had rarely any sauce left on the plate after trying both of these. This sauce was too salty, though. It had a strange mix of very salty and sweet to it, to the point where the flavors just pooped out and it was hard to taste any individual components. The sweetness really detracted me, although I have no idea where it would have come from.
Onto the salsas. I was really excited to try these, as I am a huge fan of all things appetizer-related and Mexican when summer rolls around. So I popped this one open. It is a medium heat, and in the jar, shows many bean and corn pieces floating around. It seemed as though there was not a lot of these in my portion, though. Instead of smelling fresh and having a garden-like consistency, it tasted and felt more like a tomato sauce from a jar than a salsa.
On the chip, the beans were firm, not mushy, but I couldn’t find very much corn. What I did find was tasty. I would have liked to taste a little more heat or spices in here, because it just tasted like a weak picante sauce from a jar instead of a homemade feel.
This salsa was the real underdog in this review. It was incredible. Opening this, I got a really, really nice smell of heat from the jalapeno peppers, and a delicious tomatoey smell, too. I put it in the bowl and it poured out with a really salsa-y texture. Not many chunks, thank god, but with a really good balance between juice and sauce that made the chips soak up the liquid.
The taste was phenomenal. I just couldn’t get enough of this salsa on the chips. The heat was quite complex, and built up to a nice, lingering burn that stayed for a good long time. The texture was perfect, and it smells wonderful. People wouldn’t believe this is from a jar.