Rao's Marinara Sauce
I came into this thing thinking Rao's was unstoppable. It's been my go-to since I started buying my own groceries, and to me it's always tasted like everything a good pasta sauce should be -- velvety but not pureed, rich but not overwhelmingly spiced, consistent but never boring. It smelled enticing and clung beautifully to the pasta, which I expected, but the heated sauce revealed a strong umami flavor that dominated each bite. Spring for the tomato basil version.
Senior food editor Adriana Velez adds: We have to say something about Rao’s Arrabbiata. It has come to our attention that this sauce has something extra going on. Everything that puts the marinara on this list, the scent, the texture, the pasta cling, the umami, is all there. But the Arrabbiata has a spicy heat that demands mentioning. It’s not distractingly spicy; it’s just picante enough to give your face a glow while you’re eating it, which kind of makes it a beauty product, when you think about it.