Product: Vino de Milo Portobello Shiraz Pasta Sauce – $5.99+
As is evident by this blog, I am a sucker for new products that are not only gluten-free, but also vegetarian. And one of my favorite things to test is pasta sauces. Why? Well, growing up my favorite thing to eat was pasta. It didn’t matter what kind of pasta dish it was…I just loved pasta. Even more, I loved to cover it in sauce. Yum yum!
When the gluten-free thing had to happen, I thought pasta would never be the same. In fact, it was months before I even attempted to make any sort of gluten-free pasta dish. And…sadly…it didn’t quite live up to the stuff I used to have and consume by the plateful.
But, as time went on, I discovered different types of gluten-free pastas, different brands…and the same held true for sauces as well. I’ve tried a lot of really good sauces and I’ve tried others that were decent enough…but…I’d probably never purchase again.
While out at Whole Foods one day, an end-cap full of pasta sauces I had never seen before caught my attention. All of them were clearly marked gluten-free…and I knew that I had to take one home with me and try it. So, my roommate and I looked over the various selections being offered and finally decided that the best one would be to go with the Portobello Shiraz, a pasta sauce made from diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, fresh onions, fire-roasted portobello mushrooms, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, crushed red pepper…and Shiraz wine.
No ingredient on there sounded unappetizing and there were no chemicals or added preservatives. Even better.
So, it came home with us and we began working our way through some of the other sauces in the pantry. Last night, however, was Vino de Milo’s night to top off some fresh (yes…you read that right, FRESH) gluten-free pasta. I sauteed up some mushrooms and some yellow onion, added the fresh pasta noodles and poured two servings of the sauce over the noodles in the pan to warm it. And then…when it was ready, I dished it up. A small shake of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano topped it off and I served a bowl to my roommate and kept the other for myself.
I was already in a happy place due to the fresh gluten-free pasta (which was superb!) The addition of a new pasta sauce had me eager to dig in and have a taste. Before I even settled in though, my roommate had taken a taste and declared the pasta to be fantastic…the sauce…not so much.
My heart sank. But I went and settled in with my own bowl to make that call for myself.
Sadly…she was absolutely right. It wasn’t that this sauce is bad. It’s not. It’s just that I have tasted others that have been so much better than this one. The wine, while a common and usually delicious addition to any tomato-based sauce…just didn’t seem to fit in this one. Trust me, my own homemade marinara uses wine…and I love that one. Perhaps it was the type of wine used. The Shiraz is normally a slightly spicy wine, but here it just sort of made everything taste like…it had a touch of vinegar on it. It just wasn’t a good fit. It wasn’t bad…it just tasted all wrong. But…we are going to finish off the jar regardless.
I don’t know if I would be willing to try other options for sauces by Vino de Milo after this one. While I love a good spicy kick to any sauce, this just didn’t deliver for me. Thankfully, the pasta and the vegetables were there to lend a hand to the dish. And I also didn’t drown the pasta in sauce (I kept to the serving size!).
Nutritionally speaking, Vino de Milo’s Portobello Shiraz is a healthy choice when it comes to sauces for pasta. A serving (1/2 cup) is only 40 calories. Love that. It is also completely fat free and low in sodium (330 mg) and sugars. So, it is a rather healthy choice when it comes to sauces. I mean, it is a marinara, it shouldn’t be loaded with a lot of unnecessary calorie-loaded and fat-laden things. So, there is the good. I just wished it tasted better.
If I find myself looking for another sauce to give a try, I might try a different variety of Vino de Milo pasta sauces. But the Portobello Shiraz was definitely not the way to get started on this brand.