CHESHIRE — More than two years and three new sauces later, Angela’s Kitchen Sauce is still expanding throughout the state while keeping a focus on quality ingredients and homemade recipes.
Husband and wife Angela and Keith Massimino started the company in July of 2018 with an Angela’s Kitchen meat sauce. With a slow and steady mindset, the couple has added three new sauces and now have jars in 56 stores across the state with hopes to expand over the Connecticut border.
The couple added a marinara sauce that December, a tomato basil sauce July of this year, and a vodka sauce just last month. From the start, the goal has been to share exactly what Angela Massimino makes in her own kitchen.
“My grandmother, my mother and myself, how we do it in our own kitchens is how we do it in our own jars,” Angela Massimino said.
The recipes for most of the sauces has been passed down over four generations, including to Angela’s own kids.
Angela’s Kitchen Sauce ended up unexpectedly growing during the pandemic as many stores ran out of product during the first couple months when shoppers were stocking their pantries.
“When COVID started back in (the) end of March, April, (stores) were unable to get your normal sauces — Prego, Ragu and all of that — so all the local sauces were able to take advantage,” Keith Massimino said. “We were doing some big deliveries into Big Y’s because their sauce aisle was basically depleted.”
The last two years have brought a lot of new experiences but Angela Massimino said she’s enjoyed meeting people the most, especially at tastings.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Angela Massimino and her family would set up tables in grocery stores and offer shoppers samples. Gina Massimino, one of the couple’s children who helps with the business, said it was sometimes emotional to hear stories about family recipes.
“They make you cry during the tasting. You’re like, ‘Why did you tell me about your mother, and that you haven’t had sauce like this since your mother died 10 years ago,’ ” Gina Massimino said, expressing gratitude for the shared experience.
“Like Gina said, we’ll cry with them. We hear a lot of funny stories too, but a lot of times you hear ‘Ever since my mom; I never learned (to cook her sauce).’ They were crying, saying it brings them back,” Angela Massimino said.
They hope the sauce brings people back to their childhood and reminds them of a loved one.
The Massiminos decided to start the business after Angela’s sister Anita died of cancer at the age of 51. The sisters used to make sauces and other food together.
The saying “no corners cut in this kitchen” comes from Angela Massimino’s father who would use the phrase often to emphasize the need for good ingredients.
Massimino describes the marinara sauce as having a thicker consistency than the meat sauce, with a sweeter tomato used. She said it’s great to use in the summer especially on fried mozzarella or calamari, in chicken or veal parmesan, or on pizza dough. The marinara is their best selling sauce.
The tomato basil sauce is prominently used for seafood and chicken, she said, as it has 50 percent more basil than the marinara.
The vodka sauce is creamy and made with fresh ingredients like butter, onions and top-shelf vodka. None of the sauces use preservatives or added sugars.
The sauces are currently produced by two manufacturers, Gracie’s Kitchens and Onofrio’s Ultimate Foods.
Angela Massimino said they still want to keep expanding by adding more sauces — maybe a Fra Diavolo — or expand into salad dressings or products like apple butter. The business also ships its product and is working on a way to make online ordering easier.
To find where Angela’s Kitchen Sauce is sold, visit the company’s Facebook page.