What Makes A Great Red Pasta Sauce with Cheese

The aroma and flavor profile of a high quality red pasta sauce with cheese should be led by tomato and cheese notes to be true to name. There may also be garlic, onion, basil and/or oregano notes to add to the aroma and flavor, but the intensity of these notes should be below the tomato and cheese so that they do not overwhelm the core notes. There may also be some oil and black pepper notes.

When the sauce is used in application with pasta, it should coat the pasta and the flavor intensity should come through – including the cheese flavor intensity.

The taste profile should be a balance of sweetness, sourness and saltiness, followed by a little bitterness and umami.

The texture of the sauce should have some expected level of astringency, richness and mouth weight. The pieces of tomato/vegetables should be tender. There may be some minimal chewy pieces also, but chewiness should remain low.

The pasta should appear thick and the color should be red orange. There may be some visible chunks and herbs.

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Tasting terms

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • umami

    One of the basic tastes; the savory flavor in meat and broths; sometimes an additive (MSG). Example: Natural Parmesan cheese, meats, seaweed, fish sauce and sesame exhibit an umami taste.