While the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten is the master of home-cooked meals and making things from scratch, there are few things that the celebrity chef deems acceptable to buy ready-made. Yes, even for Ina, sometimes, she admits, store-bought really is fine. One such item is puff pastry, and another: marinara sauce. But not just any marinara sauce. No, if you’re going to go the store-bought route for pasta topping, Garten recommends one brand in particular: Rao’s.
In an interview with Today, Garten, who just released her newest cookbook, admitted that while marinara sauce is always good to make yourself, “I find Rao’s is fantastic, so store-bought’s good, too.”
Is your heart singing the way ours is? As far as Garten is concerned, this store-bought brand doesn’t count as cheating in the kitchen — and it’s even available right now at BJ’s Wholesale Club for a major steal.
While Rao’s sauce is generally on the more expensive side (the brand’s own website sells a 24-ounce jar for $8.99), you can score a major deal on Rao’s Homemade Tomato Basil sauce at BJ’s. The warehouse retailer is selling a jumbo-sized, 40-ounce jar, which is bigger than what you find at most grocery stores, for just $9.99.
It’s good to know that even Garten needs a break from everything homemade once in a while — and frankly, having an easy night in the kitchen gives us more energy to tackle some of her more ambitious dishes like the lobster pot pie recipe she just shared ahead of Labor Day weekend. And hey, even then, we might just swap that homemade pastry crust for some store-bought puff pastry. Surely Garten would understand?
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Before you go, check out Garten’s best dinner recipes below: