Trader Joe’s ORGANIC BUCATINI PASTA


Trader Joe’s Organic Bucatini Pasta

Trader Joe’s new imported Organic BUCATINI has pretty much become my favorite pasta that Trader Joe’s has. This is a high quality organic artisanal pasta in a shape called bucatini, which is a long pasta like spaghetti but with a little hole (buca) in the middle.

The hole really helps this pasta to absorb sauce way more than spaghetti does (twice as much). Bucatini can be really a good match also with hearty sauces such as a Bolognese sauce or ragu. This pasta is excellent obviously for most Italian pasta dishes, and a few even specify this shape, (recipe idea links below).

In the picture is a simple pasta dish I made with this bucatini pasta and just a basic marinara tomato sauce. Even with just marinara and cheese it made a delicious pasta.

Cooking tip: This says cook for 8-10 minutes. I would suggest pulling it from the water under al dente – say around the 7 minute mark THEN FINISHING it in a pan with sauce for a minute or two so it can absorb the sauce and flavor a bit. So pull the slightly undercooked pasta, toss it into a pan with maybe 1/2 the sauce you are serving it with, and finish cooking the pasta with the sauce adding 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking water as needed. (watch Vincenzo do this in the video below) Always save a 1/2 cup of your pasta cooking water. Starchy pasta cooking water is the magic “secret” ingredient to cooking pasta the way Italians do. Finish cooking the pasta for a minute or two until it’s al dente or to your desired degree of done-ness. Plate it up and serve with a bit of extra sauce on top. Garnish with a little grated cheese and chopped parsley. The Bucantini swells up a bit with the sauce giving it a delicious texture and taste. You can even try this Bucantini pasta to make Asian noodle dishes! No really. It works pretty well as an Asian noodle in a pinch.

TJ’s Organic Bucatini pasta is selling for $1.49 for a 1 lb. package. Ingredients: Organic Durum Semolina. PRODUCT OF ITALY. Here’s a few recipe ideas for bucatini too….

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a34922698/bucatini-pasta-recipe/

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/bucatini-pecorino-and-coarse-pepper

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/bucatini-best-long-pasta

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC CHIA SEEDS


Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seeds

If you aren’t eating chia seeds by now, you probably should be eating them. You’ve no doubt heard about what a superfood chia seeds are and all it’s health benefits. These tiny powerhouse seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3’s and other goodies. When soaked in liquid the seeds swell up into a gel. So they are great for adding to cereal, smoothies, yogurt or pancakes. They can be used as a thickener. The seeds are really tiny so be careful as they have a tendency to go everywhere. Rather than pouring them out of the bag, I keep them in a jar so I can pour them or scoopI eat a huge tablespoon every day mixed into oat milk and kefir. They take a little while to swell up and absorb liquid so I wait 10 minutes or so. A 12 oz bag of them now sells for $5.49. Trader Joe’s sells a number of superfood seed items, chia seeds, flax seeds, a mix of chia and flax, and hemp seeds. All of these tiny superfood seeds are good for you and things you can incorporate into your daily diet, especially I think at breakfast when you can eat a few tablespoons easily in cereal, yogurts, and smoothies.

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds

Trader Joe’s High-Oleic ORGANIC SUNFLOWER OIL


Trader Joe’s High-Oleic Organic Sunflower Oil

I use a lot of olive oil to cook with. However there are times when you want or a recipe specifies, to use a “neutral flavored oil”. Meaning you should not use olive oil which has its own flavor, in which case I use TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil. It’s a very good neutral vegetable oil, in fact it’s a fine all-around cooking oil. This is the oil I use basically whenever I am not using olive oil. For example it’s what I use when I am making a Chinese or other Asian dishes which always specify a “neutral” vegetable oil that won’t affect the other flavors in the dish. And Sunflower Oil is good for high heat which is good for Wok cooking. I had to look up “high-oleic” but that this sunflower oil is High Oleic means its quite healthy too, maybe even more than olive oil. And this oil is ORGANIC. TJ’s Organic Sunflower Oil is quite reasonable at $3.99 for a 33.8 oz bottle, which is of course far less than olive oil. So you probably want this as your “other” oil, like me. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s 10-minute FARRO (whole grain)


Farro is an Italian word basically meaning “ancient grain”, referring to ancient wheat varieties (emmer, spelt, or einkorn) forerunner grains to modern wheat. Farro is a very healthy food for you to eat, extremely nutritious and an excellent source of protein, fiber and nutrients like magnesium, zinc and some B vitamins. Its a much healthier alternative to some other refined grains for example white rice. If you’ve never had farro served on the side of a fancy Italian restaurant ( – it’s gotten a bit trendy – you should try this. You will probably like it’s very nutty taste. It’s delicious on its own even with just some butter, salt and pepper. You can cook it in water, or broth which will of course make it even tastier. This is a great and healthy product which we really like to make either as a side dish or even part of the main, say mixed with other veggies, maybe as the base of a protein bowl. A recipe for “Farro with Sausage & Apples” is written on the bag. Whole grains like this normally take about 45 minutes to cook however TJ’s “10 Minute Farro” obviously cooks faster in only about 10-15 minutes. I am guessing its been partially cooked. Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro sells for $1.79 for an 8.8 oz. bag. I buy this stuff all the time. Great for the pantry.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA


Trader Joe’s ORGANIC POLENTA; cooked; ready to heat and serve. Gluten Free.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Corn Meal, Salt

Just in case you are not familiar with Polenta, it’s simple – and delicious. Polenta is just cooked coarsely ground corn meal. This Organic version from Trader Joe’s comes in a tube pre-cooked. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices which you grill up into crispy fried polenta. Delicious – and cheap! This is why polenta has been a staple of Italian “cucina povera” for centuries, very similar of course to “grits” here. Polenta is inexpensive, healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian.

TJ’s tube of cooked polenta is convenient, shelf stable, and only $1.99. One tube can easily make a dinner for two people. We love it as an alternative to pasta. I like to pan fry it and recommend that as the best way to serve this. The package also says you can bake it. However please don’t even think about microwaving as it also says on the package; it has to be crispy, as crispy as possible. If cooked till crispy fried polenta gets a really nice chewy “meaty” texture.

As shown in the first picture is how I made the polenta into dinner recently for us. I sautéed the slices in olive oil plus a little butter to help it brown better, for maybe 10 minutes a side – note, this is double the recommended time of 4-5 minutes on the package. Trust me, you want this very crispy, golden brown and delicious. I flipped the first side over and put a bit of mozzarella on top of the slices, which melted as the other side cooked. When it was ready to serve, I plated it and spooned over tomato sauce, in this case TJ’s Roasted Garlic Marinara sauce which is quite good by the way. I grated some extra cheese, Asiago all over. This made for a delicious Italian dinner along with a little salad and crusty bread. Dinner for two for about $4 bucks.

I always like to keep one of these shelf stable packages of TJ’s polenta in the pantry as it can make an easy, fast dinner for those times when you have “nothing” to eat in the house. A tube of this and a jar of sauce and you have dinner in 10 minutes. Not to mention Polenta’s perfect for Meatless Monday’s. Would I but this again? Yes I buy this regularly, its an excellent cheap TJ product and a great staple to have in your pantry.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/fried-polenta-5535085

PS DIY PAN FRIED GRITS – might be worth the little extra effort (cook the grits, let cool, cut into slices) not to mention even cheaper

TJ’s VAULT No. 5 CAVE AGED CHEESE


If you love finding great new cheeses I think you will find this new cheese Trader Joe’s started carrying as outstanding as I did. It’s called “Vault No. 5 Cave Aged” cheese from the “Cellars at Jasper Hills”. You can probably tell just by looking at that funky rind, this is a “serious” farm produced cheese like cheese you might find in a “fromagerie” in Paris. The moment I tasted this cheese I fell in love with it. To me, it’s another Wow Trader Joe’s item, just amazingly good. If you blindfolded me I would have sworn it was some European cheese, maybe an aged Comté or Gruyere or Emmenthaler with those types of complex, nutty flavors present in those cheeses. Well guess what, “Vault No. 5” is not from France or Switzerland but comes from the Green Mountains of VERMONT from Jasper Hill Farms . It’s cave aged by them for 12 months as it undergoes affinage in their cellars underground.

It has a natural (and funky looking!) rind which looks like that because it is loaded with (friendly) bacteria and cultures. Vault No. 5 has an edible rind (I ate some) but of course you can cut it off as my wife insisted before she would eat some. In fact, she first said the cheese is spoiled (ha!) but I told her no its just aged in some cave in Vermont for a year.

“Vault No. 5” tastes terrific on its own, on a cracker or with some good bread. How is it with fruit? When I paired it with an apple it was seemed to taste even better, in fact I couldn’t stop eating them. They say this cheese matches well with red wine and ales. Now when you melt it, it’s out of this world. Grilled cheese? Yes please. I can only imagine a grilled cheese made with this and some Unexpected Cheddar (note to self; try that) Trader Joe’s is selling Vault No. 5 for $10.99 a pound, a not a bad deal considering it’s high quality. In a top cheese shop in NYC I know premium farm cheeses like this go for at least $20 a pound or more. If you love TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar, you will probably love this one too so check it out folks, this is a keeper and I hope TJ’s continues to sell it forever.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/jasper-hill-vault-no-5-cave-aged-cheese-062684

TRADER JOE’S SAYS:

What happens when you marry old world cultures and cave-aged technique with quality milk production in the Green Mountains of Vermont? The cheese mongers at Jasper Hill did exactly that, and came up with Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese.

Toasty and aromatic, Jasper Hill Vault No. 5 Cave Aged Cheese was inspired by Swiss and Italian mountain cheeses—delightfully creamy, toasty and savory, with subtle earthy notes. It’s cave aged for a minimum of one year, a process that allows a natural rind to form around its golden, straw colored paste. In short, it’s the stuff cheesy dreams are made of.

https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/cellars

Seen at Trader Joe’s: Coffee Plants for sale !


I was pretty surprised to see this yesterday at Trader Joe’s in the plants section. I’ve never even seen an indoor coffee plant before. I think it was $7.99. As a bit of a coffee geek, I was slightly tempted to buy it (but didn’t… yet) Just in case you do, here’s some Plant Care tips for coffee I found online below. I wouldn’t expect you are going to get a harvest from this but still kinda interesting….

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/coffee-plant-care/

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC DATE SYRUP


“Organic Date Syrup is made from 100% Deglet Noor dates with nothing added. It makes a deliciously sweet topping or ingredient and can be used in place of maple, agave or any other syrup”

This is an interesting product, a very, very thick, sweet dark syrup made solely from dates. It tastes exactly like dates of course. I find it delicious and unique. It is a little expensive at $3.50 for a 6 oz bottle, however you use it in very, very small amounts, way less than say you would use honey so a bottle will last for awhile. One use I find this date syrup goes especially well with is drizzled on top of plain yogurt on my morning cereal and I don’t use much of it, just a tiny drizzle or two is plenty as its so intensely concentrated giving everything a lovely flavor.

TRADER JOES HAS THIS TO SAY

“Dates have been a part of people’s diets for an extraordinarily long time — archaeological evidence suggests that date palms been cultivated by humans for at least 7,000 years! But even beyond their countless culinary uses when eaten as a whole fruit, dates have also been used to make other foods sweeter since the days of ancient Mesopotamia. So while we’d like to introduce Trader Joe’s Organic Date Syrup as a new item, it’s actually an extremely old one — just new to us, is all. Made entirely from organic Tunisian Deglet Noor dates, this Syrup has a naturally warm and caramelly taste and can be used to add sweetness to anything you’d use agave or maple syrup on. Everything from pancakes and French toast, cakes and pastries, cocktails and coffee drinks, vinaigrettes and marinades, all take on a rich sweetness with even just a light drizzling of our Organic Date Syrup — we find that its dark, butterscotch-y flavor feels tailor-made for topping ice cream.”

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-date-syrup-070849

TJ’s ORGANIC ITALIAN ARTISAN GIGLI PASTA (with recipe)


Trader Joe’s Artisan Organic Italian Pasta

This shape, “Gigli” is sometimes also called “Campanelle” (tower) a twisty corkscrew shape with a frilly edge. This is one of TJ’s premium pastas that go for a bit more than the regular Organic pastas they carry. This one goes for $2.99 for a 1.1 lb bag, a premium price but its a premium pasta. This is a high quality Organic Pasta made in Italy by a premium manufacturer. You can note by the closeup of the pasta, it has that rough exterior indicating it’s bronze die cut and the lighter color indicating it’s slow dried, like the best Italian pastas you might find at a specialty Italian grocery – and which probably sell for double or more than this.

The cook time is only 5-7 minutes and I would stop it at a minute under Al Dente for finishing with a sauce (which means maybe around 4 minutes). I cooked this pasta with a sauce of sautéed fresh cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and feta cheese and everyone seemed to love it. My only minor complaint is when it was cooked some of the frilly edges detached into little stringy things, which look a bit weird but again this a very minor complaint. Taste wise this is another excellent quality pasta from Trader Joe’s. This corkscrew shape will be good with any sauce especially any sauce that will get into every nook and cranny of this shape. Though I haven’t tried it yet for CACIO E PEPE, I have a feeling they would be good with each other

RECIPE – EASY CHERRY TOMATO AND FETA CHEESE PASTA

Put up a large pan of salted water to boil for the pasta. In a large sauté pan, cook about 12-16 oz of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half) in a good amount of olive oil on med-high heat until the tomatoes start to soften up, about 5-7 minutes. Throw in about 4-5 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another few minutes and at the same time, I push the tomatoes to the side and put a good amount of FETA cheese cut into cube on the other side of the pan and cook on medium heat until they start to brown a little bit. Turn off the heat. Cook the pasta; check it for about a minute under al dente and toss the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce adding about a ladle of the pasta water. Cook for one minute until al dente and mix it all together. Top with a bit of more grated cheese (Parm, Pecorino, or Asiago), some fresh ground pepper and plate it up. Enjoy!

TJ’S LINK

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-italian-artisan-gigli-pasta-060942

TRADER JOE’S SAYS:

Traditional Italian pasta is made with only two ingredients, durum wheat semolina flour and water—a small amount of softer wheat flour is allowed by law, but Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta is crafted with 100% organic durum wheat semolina sourced from farms in Puglia. Our supplier has been producing artisan-made pasta for more than 35 years. Most dried pasta are made in huge batches and dried quickly, from three to 12 hours. This Artisan Pasta is made in small batches, and dried at much lower temperatures for up to 24 hours, resulting in a more rustic texture that cooks to a delightfully al dente texture. Gigli, also known as Campanelle (translates to “bellflowers” or “little bells”), has a ruffled edge and hollow center, so it holds any sauce extremely well. Marinara? Carbonara? Just a bit of olive oil and shaved Parmesan? Any of these will do, deliciously.

Trader Joe’s ORGANIC PASTA (with Pasta Puttanesca Recipe)


RAVE

Trader Joe’s has some decent regular pastas (in the blue bags) which are a steal at 99 cents. However for a tiny bit more, you can have a better pasta being the ones labeled “ORGANIC PASTA” (with red lettering) which are a level up. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should. These Organic Pastas cost $1.29. They are well worth the slightly higher price because you’re getting a higher quality Italian pasta. Almost “artisanal” as one can see by the rough texture, this pasta was manufactured using “bronze dies” which high quality pasta makers use. Bronze dies make better pasta as they give pasta rough edges which makes for better sauce adherence. Compare these pastas to the blue bags which are smoother. Cheaper pasta’s are extruded with Teflon dies which give them a smoother exterior. Bronze dies are expensive and wear out which is one reason why “good pasta” costs more.

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-significance-of-pasta-being-branded-as-bronze-cut

Another indication of the better quality of the TJ “Organic Pasta” the pasta is it is lighter in color, indicating a slower drying time (again, makes for better pasta). TJ’s carry a number of kinds of these organic pastas: spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, radiatore…. All good. The package directions state around 10-11 minutes of cooking time. I do a minute or two less than al dente, then finish cooking the pasta in the sauce as Italians do (they never pour sauce on bare pasta). TIP: Always save some pasta water to add in tablespoons as needed.

So check out TJ’s Organic Pastas as they make terrific dishes. Not that the regular pastas in the blue bags are bad. These just a even better. By the way, TJ’s does sell special ones labeled “Artisanal Organic” pastas. Those may cost around $3 or or less.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-papperdelle-pasta-nests-069919

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/organic-italian-artisan-gigli-pasta-060942

Any of these pasta shapes would go great of course with TJ’s CACIO E PEPE sauce – or any other favorite you like. If you want a real authentic Italian sauce, I suggest trying your hand at Pasta Puttanesca. I made it last night and it was fantastic (you can get the Capers, Olives, Anchovies at TJ’s). Watch VINCENZO make it, it’s easy and delicious!

Previous Older Entries