I retract my previous statement; I KNOW I love Trader Joe’s. On February 14th, mayhem broke out across the Denver metro area, when 3 brand-spankin’-new Trader Joe’s opened their doors to desperate Coloradans. The parking lots overflow with agitated customers, jonesing for inexpensive olive oil and frozen berries. Patagonia-clad Boulderites tap their feet impatiently, with their carts busting at the seams with Pesto gouda (yes, it exists), tamari almonds, cookie butter (Trader Joe’s riff on the mythical Speculoos butter), and bags of pre-washed, baby arugula. Everyone is irritated by the crowds, but it is worth the delight that ensues from rejoicing in the spoils within the privacy of our own kitchens.
If there has been some sort of media blitz on unethical business practices employed by Trader Joe’s, please let me know; current affairs are not my strong suit. I cannot begin to fathom why their products are so inexpensive. The only explanation is that something is amiss, but the Polly Anna in me so badly wants to believe otherwise. Without concrete evidence, I will continue bingeing on soft and chewy ginger cookies, organic spaghettios, and Spanish cheese samplers, and I will be doing so at curiously reasonable prices.
This week, I tried Trader Giotto’s Porcini and Truffle Triangoli. That’s a ravioli shaped like a triangle (cheeky, I know). For under 4 dollars per package, these little pillows boast tender pasta and a palpable truffle-y funk (and yes, that is most definitely a good thing). The scent hit me like a ton of bricks upon opening the package.
There was quite a bit of pasta in the package, so I prepared it two ways. First, I made a quick tomato sauce, that I’m dubbing “pomodoro crudo.” It’s very simple: 1 chopped tomato, sautéed in olive, garlic, and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Then I added about a half cup of chicken broth and a glug of white wine. This simmered for about 10 minutes. When the pasta was finished, it was gently coated with this quick tomato sauce, with a few splashes of pasta cooking water, as needed. I finished it with a ton of fresh parsley and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The tomato sauce added a nice, bright acidity to the earthy, rich filling of the pasta. The dish was surprisingly filling, but I guess I should expect that from stuffed pasta laced with truffle oil.
Later, I ate the unaltered leftovers with a drizzle of olive oil, pepper, parsley, and Parmesan. You can’t go wrong with either preparation; however, the inclusion of parsley and parmesan cheese go a long way no matter what. I look forward to exploring the seemingly infinite array of novelly items, such as Truffled Triangoli, at my new favorite retail store.
Posted On March 20, 2014