The Store-Bought Pasta Sauce Ina Garten Swears By

Store-bought foods and Ina Garten recipes don't always go hand in hand. After all, we're talking about the cook who makes her own vanilla extract, according to TODAY, and whose commonly uttered phrase, "store-bought is fine," has inspired countless memes and the name of a cooking blog dedicated to her recipes. Although Garten cooks for a living and enjoys taking the extra time to simmer her own chicken stock and grate her own parmesan cheese (via TODAY), there are a few common ingredients that she doesn't mind leaving to the factory. One of them is marinara sauce.

"I think you can spend the entire day making good marinara sauce, or you can buy Rao's marinara sauce, which I think is just fantastic," Garten told Bon Appétit. Rao's marinara sauce is regarded by many professional cooks and food media outlets as one of the best tomato sauces you can get in a jar (via Serious Eats). The brand claims to cook its sauces slowly and in small batches, using no colors, fillers, or added sugars. With just Italian plum tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, salt, and black pepper, Rao's marinara sauce contains the same ingredients you'd use to make it at home (via NYT Cooking). It's no wonder it has the Garten seal of approval.

How to use Rao's marinara sauce, according to Ina Garten

Naturally, Garten seems to enjoy using Rao's marinara sauce for Italian applications. "It's great for pasta. It's great for lasagna. It's great for putting together a really fast dinner," she told Bon Appétit. Garten also calls for the sauce in her recipes for roasted eggplant parmesan (via Food Network) and vegetarian lasagna (via Barefoot Contessa). Both take about an hour to bake, but you'll have saved an extra 30 minutes by not making your own marinara.

Tomato sauce isn't the only thing that has the Barefoot Contessa's store-bought seal of approval. She told TODAY that store-bought jam is "really good," store-bought ketchup is "just fine," and store-bought mayonnaise is "fantastic." As for puff pastry: "Don't even bother making it yourself. It takes forever," she said. Garten even dedicated an entire episode of her Food Network show, Back to Basics, to store-bought ingredients. On her show (and corresponding recipes on Food Network's website) you can learn about how she transforms everything from store-bought roasted peppers and ice cream into easy homemade hummus and raspberry baked Alaska.