The Pasta Sauce Ina Garten Can't Stop Using

Ina Garten is one of those chefs that has cultivated an entire culinary career with simple ingredients. According to The Washington Post, the Food Network host and esteemed cookbook author has proven her love for cooking by showing how solid cuisine is the ultimate way to bring people together. She has spent years formulating accessible recipes even the greenest of home chefs are willing to try.

One of the ways Garten has developed such a pronounced following is through her unpretentious way of taking shortcuts when necessary. In 2019, the esteemed culinary wizard shared with Today all the foods she chooses to purchase at the store rather than make homemade. Apart from signing off on Hellman's mayonnaise and packaged puff pastry, her famous last words "store-bought is fine," seems to have a resounding effect on novice chefs far and wide (via The Cut).

While showing a preference for store-bought goods like Hellman's mayonnaise or Grey Poupon mustard  — as showcased in Garten's Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken – is expected to some degree, what about jarred pasta sauce? According to Statistica, 271 million Americans used pasta sauce in 2021, and with the convenience of packaged in-store options, many Americans opt for jarred varieties to streamline their dinner-making process. Surprisingly, from time to time, Ina Garten is one of those Americans. When homemade pasta sauce isn't on the menu, which pre-made variety does Ina Garten use?

Ina Garten's favorite jarred pasta sauce

When perusing the Barefoot Contessa shop tab, you'll notice all the products Ina Garten favors when shopping the aisles of her nearest grocery store. Among the Maldon sea salt and Nestlé Toll House chocolate chunks, there is a special spot solely dedicated to Rao's homemade marinara sauce. There may be easy ways to make store-bought sauces taste homemade, but Ina Garten chooses Rao's when she doesn't have extra time in the kitchen.

Garten shared a peek inside her pantry with Bon Appétit and when it came to Rao's tomato sauce, the famous chef declared, "I think you can spend the entire day making good marinara sauce, or you can buy Rao's Marinara sauce which is just fantastic."

According to Rao's website, Garten's favorite jarred sauce became marketable in 1992 once owners of the original Rao's restaurant in New York City grew tired of making people wait for a reservation. The brand's simple ingredient list has culminated not just the devotion of the Barefoot Contessa, but the appreciation of other notable chefs and fans across the country.

Ina Garten is not the only one talking up Rao's homemade marinara sauce

The Rao's website states the brand's one-of-a-kind tomato sauce is made from vine-ripened tomatoes in Southern Italy and contains no added sugar, fillers, or tomato paste, giving the product a fresh, homemade taste. Chef Keesha O'Galdez told The Strategist, "It definitely has an authentic taste, and the sweet, delicate flavor comes solely from tomatoes." Influenster reviews also sing the praises of the jarred sauce. Many claim even though Rao's is slightly more expensive than other varieties on the market, the brand ranks highest for quality ingredients and bright flavors.

Ina Garten's pantry transparency may spur you to give Rao's a try, but simultaneously she's offering a comforting level of accessibility. In 2015, when discussing her first cookbook with Houston TV host, Ernie Manouse, Garten revealed its mantra: to keep cooking simple and to give even beginner home cooks confidence to follow her simple recipes (per Culture Map Houston). According to Food Network, Garten even dedicated an entire Season 17 episode of "Barefoot Contessa" to store-bought shortcuts. If you don't have time to make basic tomato sauce at home, you might want to heed Ina Garten's advice and give Rao's Homemade marinara sauce a try. The brand is a classic favorite across America and who knows? Maybe a few store-bought shortcuts will spur you to make more simple meals at home.