The only Ragu pasta sauce...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The only Ragu pasta sauce...

...I ever liked suddenly disappeared from supermarket shelves over a decade ago...

Label, circe 1999, from the sadly discontinued product.

...and for which I scrounged grocery shelves all over this end of Long Island and the West Haven area for months in 1999 and 2000.

(I found a carefully preserved label during some early Spring cleaning last week.)

I wrote then Ragú parent Best Foods (before it was swallowed-up by the sinister-sounding multi-national Unilever in Y2K) ask­ing what happened and why couldn't I find any of their "Spicy Red Pepper?"

In reply, I received a computer-personal­ized note crafted in PR-speak which in essence told me "You're outta luck, chump, there aren't enough with your outré tastes to make it worth our while to keep producing it. Here's a freebie coupon for your troubles so suck it up and get on with your life."

I took the coupon to the then closest Stop N Shop (Holbrook) and came home with some­thing I hoped (in vain) might be comparable.

Since then, Ragú has been at the bottom of my shopping list for pasta sauces, and the Speir Rough 'n' Ready Style of Commando Cooking has learned how to approximate the taste of the missing commercial product.

Take that!, Unilever, you soulless off-shore-owned greed-heads!


1. Coach K said...

I married a beautiful up-Island Italian girl. Makes sauce from scratch- fahhgettaboutitt - the best!!! The Ragú brings me back to my Irish mother - on Fridays served over spaghetti with frozen fish sticks - yucchh!

As I said, Ragú is at the bottom of my list of pasta sauces... the one cited was the only one for which I cared.

2. Hunt Marckwald said...

Muir Glen has great sauces as does Barilla.

Ever the esoteric, eh, Hunt!?

3. Jerry Steiner said...

Gourmet meal coach... I had elbow macaroni bathed in ketchup, accompanied with Gorton's of Gloucester. A meal fit for a king!

Ragú???? I would of figured you more of a Chef Boy-R-Dee sort of guy, Mr. Wizard.

Feel the love... ice cold beer... Jerry


4. Shepard M. Scheinberg said...

Dean: Although I make my own sauces, we have a source (for sauce) here in Naples, Florida called The Sauce Lady. Her products are unbelieveably great. She is the daughter of Peter Vivanetto, of Lindenhurst, who had a restaurant here back in the 1970's. Alas, no Spicy Red Pepper.

If Gordie Howe were here, he'd go crazy for her sauces.

I'm sure he would... and probably me, as well! As you can readily discern, Gordie and I like to eat!

5. Bruce Tria said...

Ragù? Pasta sauce in a jar? That would be heresy in a respectable Italian household. You might as well buy a frozen pizza.

Aw. jeez Louise Pell!
  1. I am not Italian!
  2. I stated that it was "the only Ragú pasta sauce I ever liked" and it "has been at the bottom of my shopping list for pasta sauces" ever since that one product had been discontinued!
So all you Southern Mediterranean pedants... and you too, Shep and Steiner, can kiss my gagootz.

6. Graham Dickson said...

Just take a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, an onion, some good olive oil and some red pepper flakes (you might have some left over from a pizza delivery.

  1. Heat oil.
  2. Add chopped onion and simmer say 5 minutes.
  3. Add pepper flakes to taste.
  4. Add chopped (or diced, or whole that you mash) canned tomatoes.
Let simmer for a short time or a long time, your choice. It's good.
Thank you, Graham... my own preference is to schmush one whole chipotle (a smoke-dried jalapeño) pepper in hot oil (being careful to keep one's face away from the pot!) and then add the rest of the ingredients, carefully.

7. Dan Baroni said...

I have about three cases of Ragú Spicy Red Pepper from y2k, goes to the highest bravest bidder....

Why don't you just cut the silliness and tell us what you want for a case, delivered, from San Francisco.

I mean, if you really want the "highest bidder," put'em on eBay.

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