I've always been a fan of squash raviolis, but I had never heard of squash pasta sauce until I saw Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce at Costco. It's hailed as the first of its kind-- "all-natural butternut-squash pasta sauce...made with squash ripened in Oregon's Willamette Valley." The product is manufactured in San Francisco, CA and is made of the highest quality ingredients (order of the ingredients on the label):
Red Bell Peppers
Evaporated Cane Juice
It does contain dairy, so if you are lactose intolerance or a vegan, you should avoid this pasta sauce. Still, I'm happy to report that the pasta sauce is gluten-free.
As for the taste, the biggest criticism I have is that it's one of the sweetest pasta sauces I've ever eaten. It's not sweet as in "candy sweet." It's what I would call "savory-sweet." The ingredients that hit your taste buds the most are butternut squash and red bell peppers. Because butternut squash is one of the sweetest squashes out there, it's expected that this sauce would exemplify that flavor. If the sweetness bothers you, there is a way to rectify that issue. For myself, I simply add more black pepper to it, preferably freshly cracked peppercorn. The pepper transforms it to more of a traditional savory taste. If you're a garlic lover, adding some more of this spice also helps.
As for the texture, the sauce is a good consistency when you first open it, not too watery and not too thick. However, if you don't use up all the sauce with your first batch of cooking, it will thicken inside the fridge. It tastes good fresh or after being stored in the refrigerator for a little bit. The only problem with letting it sit in the fridge is that the sauce gets more difficult to pour out from the bottle because of its thickness. A little bit of water added to the remaining sauce will allow you to maximize the amount of leftover sauce.
There are many products you can use this pasta sauce with. Of course, there is traditional plain pasta. I paired the sauce with Barilla Plus Penne Pasta, and I was very happy with the overall taste and flavor of the meal. I've also used the butternut squash on polenta and cheese raviolis, again wonderful pairings. I did add aged Parmesan Cheese, pepper, garlic, and salt to all of these dishes to help tone down the sweetness of the sauce. The label also suggests using the sauce with tortellinis and lasagna. Basically, you can use this pasta sauce with any type of pasta dish and be assured that you will have "a delicious change of pace" to your meal.
While doing some additional research about this pasta sauce, I discovered that it's an award-winning recipe. In 2009, Dave won a Gold Award for Outstanding Pasta Sauce (N.A.S.F.T.) for his Butternut Squash recipe. In fact, Dave's been winning awards for his tasty gourmet creations since 1994 when his Salute Dressing won the Outstanding Healthy/Nutritious Product (N.A.S.F.T). I'm very impressed at the amount of awards he's won, and I would be willing to try any of his other amazing products, especially the Spicy Marinara Pasta Sauce. I highly suggest readers and potential consumers view all of Dave's award winning food products.
Overall, I'm very happy with this product. It's so good, I'm not ashamed to say that I like eating the sauce directly from the bottle (in small doses of course). I'm very happy that I visited Costco the day it was being featured. I wish that more non-bulk grocery stores offered samples because then I would have additional chances of discovering some fantastic products like Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.
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