RANT: TUSCANO MARINARA SAUCE (discontinued) + Marinara RECIPE


“Trader Giotto’s” Low Fat Tuscan Marinara

RANT

Ode to yet another discontinued Trader Joe’s product, a classic rant about an excellent TJ product, which they discontinued! Some people thought this was the best marinara sauce on the market. Many were bumbed to learn TJ’s Discontinued their favorite tomato sauce! So why am I writing about this now? Well the other day I happened to be clearing out my pantry and found I had a can of this Marinara way in the back. I opened it and tasted it and was pretty shocked to see how good it was. This marinara is, or should we say was, a terrific sauce. For one thing it’s not super smooth, it’s full of chunks of tomatoes like a homemade sauce you had put together. The current glass jars of Marinara sauce that Trader Joe’s replaced this with are smooth. I made a pasta dish using this Marinara and the dish turned out really well. I made a pizza with it a few days later which also turned out great. So yes, it’s a crime TJ’s got rid of this great and very useful sauce. Mind boggling. So just posting this Rant and sorry you won’t be able to find this really great product anymore . At least TJ’s still sells the 28 oz cans of crushed or diced tomatoes which will make you a great sauce with little effor. I always have cans of tomatoes in the pantry as well as tomato paste (can and/or tube) So if you are inclined to make your own sauce, which is not hard and I think is worth the little effort it takes. Here’s an EASY HOMEMADE MARINARA RECIPE from NatashasKitchen, link below.

TIP (1) IMO adding a tablespoon of tomato paste at the start will make it even better (2) My mom taught me useful advice: Just double up the recipe when you cook some things because for the same amount of effort you will have another meal. You can also freeze the extra batch.

Pizza from scratch; made using this terrific marinara sauce

Trader Joe’s BREADED FRIED RAVIOLI


RAVE

Breaded deep fried ravioli? Doesn’t that sound a bit over the top? Still when I saw these, I was intrigued and thought I would give them a try. Well I have to say they are quite good, better than I expected them to be. First I should say we almost always try to “eat healthy”. I rarely eat fried anything. So frankly deep fried breaded ravioli is not something I normally eat or buy on a regular basis but hey this is the job, and reviews have to be done 😉

Having now tried them, I can tell you these fried ravioli are actually pretty yummy. The two of us totally enjoyed eating these, as a rare treat. I could see these as something you could serve once in a blue moon in small portions, say 4 or 5 ravioli, as a side or as an appetizer? They might be even be a tasty and easy treat to serve up as an hors d’oeuvre for company. One recommended method to make these is to Pan Fry them which is what I did. I used less than a tablespoon of olive oil, where as the directions say, oil a 1/4 inch deep. I don’t think you need more than a tablespoon or two of oil in a non-stick or cast iron pan. TJ’s says they are good done in an air fryer too. Once the ravioli looked crispy and golden brown, I drained them on a paper towel. The breaded ravioli were delicious, a little crispy on the outside and when you bite into them, full of soft melted cheese inside (5 kinds of cheese). Naturally these will be perfect with a bit of your favorite tomato sauce (fresh basil if you have), and they were delicious when I served them with some sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan. So give these a try if they sound good to you. A package (1 lb) is $3.99. They can be found in the frozen section…. Trader Joe’s says…

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/breaded-fried-ravioli-066183

“Each Breaded Fried Ravioli starts as a stately square of semolina pasta, filled with a mouth-watering mix of five kinds of cheese: creamy ricotta, mild Monterey Jack, rich mozzarella, savory Asiago, and piquant Parmesan. These Ravioli are then battered and deep fried to perfection, then flash frozen for you to finish the job at home. Once prepared (we find an air fryer to be particularly suited for the job), they’re everything a cheesy appetizer should be: warm, gooey, and phenomenally cheesy, with a crispy, savory exterior—a little like a breaded mozzarella stick, taken to the next level.”

Trader Joe’s ITALIAN BOMBA Hot Pepper Paste of Fermented Calabrian Chili Peppers


bomba1

RAVE

Since it first appeared, Trader Joe’s Italian “Bomba” Hot Pepper Sauce blew up all over the internet as one of Trader Joe’s best new offerings. In this case, any hype you’ve heard about how good TJ’s “BOMBA” is, is 100% justified. This stuff is incredible. Sorry I won’t be saying “it’s the bomb” (even though it is). However I will tell you that we just freaking LOVE this stuff, and put it on many, many things. Since first trying this its become a condiment that we have to have in the fridge at all times. Here’s why.

BOMBA is a condiment made from crushed up fresh Calabrian red chile peppers that get fermented. By now I’m sure you’re well aware about how fermentation adds complex flavor elements to foods. When you taste this paste you will notice a little bit of funkiness. That is it’s fermentation and it adds a magical addition of, you guessed it, UMAMI. Giving this stuff more complexity than just a “hot sauce”. Now Bomba sauce is a bit spicy but it’s not really spicy. It’s nowhere near a knock-your-head-off hot sauce, skulls on the label, kind of spicy. This has a tolerable level of spicy PLUS flavor! As a spiciness test, I just put a small spoon of Bomba in my mouth. While I got “yes this is spicy”, it didn’t want to make me want to drink a glass of milk or anything. I got something beyond just “spicy”, there that funkiness, even a bit of sweetness. So depending on the amount you use, you can adjust the level of spicy to your taste and palate, and if you add even just a tiny bit to dishes – I’m talking a quarter of a teaspoon – it will add wonderful flavors that may surprise you.

How to use Bomba ? Of course this is going to be great added to tomato sauces, say on pasta or pizza or what have you. But what about other pasta dishes? A spoonful mixed into your Spaghetti Aglio e Olio? For sure! A little bit in your Carbonara? Controversial perhaps but I do it, and it is terrific. What about all those Gnocchi you love from Trader Joe’s? Regular, cauliflower, kale, shelf stable or what have you… OMG folks, a dollop of this Bomba with garlic and good olive oil will make your gnocchi soar. Still, Bomba is more than “just for Italian” food. I put a little bit into my scrambled eggs. It’s divine with eggs of any kind. A drop of it onto of my buttered, toasted baguette is great. A little bit mixed into avocado toast or guacamole. Add a little bit of Bomba to your marinade for meat or chicken. Dips and sauces? Perfect. You can mix this up with some Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise for that matter) for an instant wonderful sauce, to top some cooked Chicken Breasts, Shrimp, or Tofu as well. Or try that mix as a dip for some chips. Drizzle some with olive oil and garlic on your roasted veggies. Add a spoon of this to your soup or most any sauce to give it some jazz. I even love it on cottage cheese on toast (no, seriously that’s really good). On my sardines on toast. I suggest adding some fresh garlic when using Bomba. Of course these two go very well together. Asian food?! OMG yes, yes, yes! Honestly the list of things and types of food Bomba can improve and go with is endless and I promise, you will discover uses on your own (please share some with us in the COMMENTS below). TJ’s Bomba is truly a premium gourmet offering. Amazingly Trader Joe’s sells this for $2.99 a jar, which is honestly incredible for such a product. Oh and it’s really Italian, it is a “Product Of Italy”. I have found it sold out on occasion as its a big hit. So if you like it, next time grab an extra jar to keep in the pantry like I do (but just one, leave some for me, and the next guy!) Ingredients are: Chilies, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, Basil, Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid. Honestly even if you are not really the “hot sauce type” I suggest you get a jar of this to try. Calabrian chili’s are not super hot; they are in the “medium” spice level. People can pop them in their mouths easily. Personally I can’t live without having a jar of Bomba in the fridge now and if you try this, you may feel exactly the same.

TIP: I add a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil after I open the jar to “seal the top” off from air and keep it freshest for longer. Keep the jar in the fridge. Take it out 15 minutes before using if its congealed.

If you tried BOMBA and have any Comments feel free to share them.

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