Sauce Review: Pellicano's

A post is coming soon on homemade tomato sauce - the easiest, simplest, most delicious version you can make and pretend you're Italian with - but for all of those days you want something you can stick in a microwave or on the stove for a few minutes, there's Pellicano and their Olive Oil and Romano Cheese sauce. 

Growing up, most of the (jarred) tomato sauces we used tasted just fine, but they were so acidic my stomach of steel always hurt later on, even with a big glass of milk. Once I discovered the magic of homemade sauce, I started to seek out the more basic prepared sauces - I don't need sauce with mushrooms (which I hate anyway) or a ton of preservatives. 

Almost every time we've used the Pellicano sauce I haven't looked at the jar before dinner; but the sauce is noticeably better to the whole table before anyone mentions the brand. This is a simple sauce, with all the promises of organic, simple and fresh produce everyone seeks out today, but unlike some of its competitors, it does everything right. There's this natural sweetness that I'm super into, even though the Olive Oil and Romano Cheese is advertised as having no added sugar. That's a real testament to the quality of the tomatoes, and helps me focus on what matters most in my pasta world: making it rain cheese on my plate.

All of the basic elements of sauce I'm looking for are here - sweetness with a tiny bit of tang, a slight enough cheese flavor to appreciate the addition but not enough to keep you from adding more, and an inoffensive texture. Unless I'm using a very basic pasta sauce or, preferably, making sauce at home, I'm not one for big chunks of tomato. I'm the same with salsa - give me the joy that is pureed tomatoes as a restaurant-style salsa; don't make me poke around the chunks of tomatoes and peppers for dat good good! Yuck. Pellicano has a great texture that can then be amped up if you want - say, if you want to throw in some ground beef for lazy-wannabe-meatballs or just saute some broccoli or zucchini to add for a pasta stir fry. Pellicano's not trying to be more than a sauce vessel for the (gluten free) carbs and cheese on their way to your face, but their sauce is straight up delicious on its own.



We found Pellicano at Wegman's, where it's clearly marked gluten free (to the left in the image), but a quick online search shows it's available in a bunch of places. Their website also advertises a whole bunch of products, from a "thick, rich, red" Traditional sauce to a Vodka Cream, as well as "Texas Brand" food products. I'm not sure how many of these other items are gluten free though so let me know if you find or use any of their other products!

Gluten-Free Stir Fry Sauces

The latest how-to-avoid-gluten-but-live-normally problem for our beloved Celiacs surrounds a savory dish we all love: stir fry. A lot of restaurants say they have gluten-free options, but going to the restaurant after calling and checking has resulted in: "You can have chicken with one of these two vegetables". And that's not fair! Who doesn't want to pick their own Asian-style sauce over their steak (okay vegetarians I know you don't) with inappropriate amounts of rice to have after wayyy to many apps and soups? Well, to help avoid that nightmare I'm here to show you how to make stir fry your way at home.

I'll have a whole separate post in the next few days in our Cooking section outlining how to make your own stir fry, but I thought I'd start off today telling you about the gluten free products I use. Pre-Celiac family, I originally made stir fry with hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and teriyaki. I'm not super big on soy sauce but we always had it around.

Now in our post-gluten world, I had to rethink my sauces. Hoisin and oyster sauce still come in gluten-free versions, but teriyaki and soy are a bit trickier. One of soy sauce's primary ingredients is wheat, so it took a little doing to find g-free soy sauce. The bigger issue was really that most teriyaki contains soy, and we really couldn't find any on our first attempt. Instead, we came home from Wegmans with their gluten-free stir fry sauce.

Our new roster

Our new roster

When I was playing around with these ingredients the first time, I found that the premade stir fry sauce was a little off what I wanted to taste. It was a little too sweet and too thin, like a marinade, and lacked the flavors I wanted. So I toyed around with the hoisin and oyster, which alone without the teriyaki would have been pretty boring flavors. Together they made a delicious combination, although very different from the gluten-packed stir fries of my past.

Any suggestions on stir fry components I'm missing? Have you found a great g-free teriyaki brand?