Dining With Denise Neil

Bongiovi marinara sauce: You’ll want to lay it down on a bed of pasta

This sauce is like “Bad Medicine.” Actually, it’s just like most jarred pasta sauces, but it’s fun to buy something made by Jon Bon Jovi’s dad.
This sauce is like “Bad Medicine.” Actually, it’s just like most jarred pasta sauces, but it’s fun to buy something made by Jon Bon Jovi’s dad. The Wichita Eagle

A child of the 1980s, I’m a Bon Jovi fan from way back. As a teenager, I saw the band in concert at least three times, and I may have crafted a few now-embarrassing declarations of love to the band members using poster board, colorful markers and glitter.

So my red Target cart made a sudden stop the day I innocently strolled past an unexpected sight in the pasta aisle: a jar of Bongiovi brand marinara sauce.

Like any self-respecting fan, I knew that Bongiovi was the real spelling of Jon Bon Jovi’s surname. Could this pasta be a product of the same Bongiovi family?

It could, and it was. The sauce, according to the label, was invented by Jon Bon Jovi’s father, John Bongiovi Sr., using a family recipe. And the Bongiovi label helps support the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the singer’s charity that helps low-income families.

Was I going to put this sauce in my cart? Did Tommy work on the docks?

A few nights later, I spooned a generous amount of the marinara onto my spaghetti, hoping it would not give pasta sauce a bad name.

It didn’t. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoy any jarred pasta sauce. Although it was a bit too sweet, I appreciated that it had chunky tomatoes and a nice hint of basil. The only variety I saw at Target was marinara, though the company also makes a Garden Style sauce as well as an Arrabbiata.

I’m not sure I’d buy it again but only because it’s so easy to make your own marinara that’s just as good and preservative-free. Not to mention it’s a somewhat steep $5.99 a jar, and I have to drive all the way to SuperTarget to get it. (That’s the only place it’s available locally, though you could also place an order at www.bongiovibrand.com/.)

But I still have the jar, which I plan to add to my shrine, er, my recycling bin, very soon.

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