SHOP TALK

Our staffers put 25 marinaras to the test to find the su­per­mar­ket jars that are al­most as good as home­made.

Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents - —AN­GELA CARUCCI

The best pre­made marinaras, Ital­ian pantry sta­ples, and a Parm primer

A food-team fa­vorite, Rao’s Home­made Mari­nara has a com­plex fla­vor (spiced, but not too spiced) and a smooth tex­ture we keep go­ing back to. This splurgy sauce is great on its own, but to make it even more im­pres­sive, add meat­balls or some fresh herbs. $9 for 24 oz.

Vic­to­ria Mari­nara is heavy on the tomato fla­vor—and isn’t that what you want from tomato sauce? It can hold its own when com­bined with cheese and meat, which makes it per­fect in dishes like chicken Parm and lasagna. $7 for 24 oz.

If you’re one for throw­ing last-minute get-to­geth­ers, keep an ex­tra jar or two of Mezzetta Whole Gar­lic & Sweet Basil Mari­nara around. No one will know it’s not home­made. For re­alz. $6 for 16.25 oz.

RAGÚ Sim­ply Chunky Mari­nara tastes like nostal­gia! This stuff re­minded some of us of the first time our folks left us to fend for our­selves at din­ner­time. It’s still one of the least ex­pen­sive jars go­ing, mak­ing it a good choice for slather­ing on a pre­made pizza crust or dip­ping your moz­zarella sticks in. $2.19 for 24 oz.

Be­yond the fla­vor­ful blend of toma­toes with pars­ley, gar­lic, and onion, we love that 50 per­cent of the prof­its from each jar of Bon­giovi Mari­nara (from, yes, that Bon Jovi) helps fight home­less­ness and hunger. $7 for 24 oz.

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