If you ❤ pasta, this is for you…
Garlic & Mushroom Pappardelle Recipe Here
Roasted Garlic Olive Oil // O Olive Oil // Petaluma, CA
Roasting garlic, like caramelizing onions, is a take-no-shortcuts proposition. Either spend the time to slowly stir, or fuggedaboutit. Or open a bottle. O began as the first company in the US to press real citrus with its oils, instead of flavoring them artificially. Now they add other goodies to their hand-harvested Mission olives, like fresh California garlic, slow-roasted for forty-eight hours. What do you do with it, besides breathe deep and dream? Try this: sauté some good mushrooms in oil for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper and thyme, and toss with pasta. Top with a drizzle of oil.
Pappardelle // Community Grains // Oakland, CA
Nothing’s easier than cooking pasta. Nothing’s harder than making it, starting with the hunt for real, whole-grain, California-grown flour. It took years to build the right supply chains, but Community Grains did, and you reap the goods: hard amber durum wheat, milled whole (bran, germ, and all), mixed, rolled, cut (with real bronze dies), and air dried ever so slowly. And that’s just the beginning. Now you have to cook it. Thankfully, that’s the easy part — after all the work it took to make that single noodle, you can surely wait for a pot to boil. With pasta like this, it’s worth it.
BRUSCHETTA WITH BALSAMIC NECTAR RECIPE HERE
Balsamic Nectar // Balsamic Nectar // Boulder, CO
Think you know balsamic? No way, Giuseppe. Most is just red wine vinegar with caramel coloring. But real-deal balsamic vinegar — the certified stuff, straight from only two regions in Italy, and only one kind of Modena grape — is a hundred-buck-a-bottle investment, each one at least 12 years old and each precious drop a life changing burst of flavor. Thankfully, a drop is all you need. Sadly, that drop can take decades to mature. Except at the hands of this Boulder, CO producer, who uses a secret shortcut to speed up the aging. The process may be new, but a traditional application is still best: toasted country bread, sliced tomato, a drizzle of good olio and a drop (or two) of nectar.
Chorizo Mac & Cheese Recipe Here
Q Mac & Cheese // Edison Grainery // Oakland, CA
You know the guy — maybe you’ve been one: in a bind for what to bring, he shows up to the block party with that infamous foil-covered casserole of slapped-together mac and cheese, a silver-topped dish of defeat. Noodles like inner tubes, cheese like tree bark, stale gut-filling ballast. Mix up this box of creamy cheddar and gluten-free quinoa pasta, though, and you know you’ll leave with an empty pan, and happy neighbors.
Classic Red Sauce // Jar Goods // Hoboken, NJ
Our first is the ur-pie, the classic: red sauce and pepperoni. More than mere adornment, sauce should be a peacemaker, a bridge, the hardworking mortar linking the sweet chew of the crust to the savor and spice of your toppings. You need a sauce with guts, and where better to look than Jersey? This one, swiped from Jersey City’s famed Jule’s restaurant does the trick, a slow-simmered stew of vine-ripe tomatoes, rib-sticking thick enough to keep even the most freewheeling toppings in place.
Genovese Pesto // Scarpetta // Lynn, MA
For a lighter pie with a zesty herbal edge, bake your crust naked, then dress with a dollop of the world’s best pesto. From Liguria, the basil capital of Italy (and thus, the universe), a masterful mash of prime-plucked leaves, Italian cheese, fresh olive oil, and chewy pine nuts. As simple and fresh as a kitchen garden.
Georgia Olive Farms // Arbequina Olive Oil // Lakeland, GA
Georgia is as synonymous with olive oil as Naples is with Nascar, but Jason Shaw has been turning heads since since turning out the first harvest of EVOO east of the Mississippi in 150 years. Leading chefs agree it’s worth the wait as gents like Sean Brock and Hugh Acheson have taken notice to Shaw’s commitment to quality, popping bottles of his small-batch, cold-pressed, extra virgin oil for their patrons.
California Lime Olive Oil // Sutter Buttes Olive Oil // Sutter, CA
Inspired by the founder’s global travels, but brought home with olives grown within 30 miles of the eponymous buttes (a cluster of volcanic spires outside Sacramento) and a SoCal sunburst of zesty citrus, this oil makes a Baja-style fish fry to rival the taco truck in the next parking spot over. Fillet a flaky white fish (we like mahi mahi; East Coasters go for cod), marinate in oil and spices for a half hour, then quickly sauté, slap on a tortilla, and top with sliced mango.
Harissa Lamb Meatballs With Couscous Recipe Here
Golden Couscous // Bob’s Red Mill // Milwaukie, OR
A pin-sized pellet with a prodigious past, these tiny specks are the ubiquitous, unifying foundation of North African and Middle Eastern cuisine — not a grain, but tiny rolled pieces of pasta, made from ground, toasted wheat. The good stuff: chewy, nutty durum flour, a hearty strain native to that part of the world — heavy heritage with taste to match. Couscous cooks up fast, in only about five minutes, but goes anywhere, from salads to stews. We like cooking ours with a bit of ghee to heighten its earthy chew, and serving with spicy meatballs.
Harissa // EnTube // Los Angeles, CA
An ancient, North African paste, harissa is like a souk in a spoonful: heaps of sun-dried peppers, mountains of fragrant spice, pulverized into paste. It’s as common as ketchup in Tunisia, but a rare sight here in the land of, well, ketchup (which is actually Chinese — but we’ll get to that another time). Thankfully, there’s EnTube. The eponymous packaging isn’t the only modern touch: EnTube’s special mix adds the Amazonian Acerola berry, a citrusy powerhouse of Vitamin C. Clear out your cupboard — ketchup, mustard, hot sauce — harissa can replace it all. Drizzle on meatballs, or mix right into them: blend with ground lamb, minced onion, breadcrumbs, and egg, ball up, sear quickly, then simmer in tomatoes (and more harissa) for twenty minutes until cooked.
Everything Bagel Fusilli // Sfoglini Pasta Shop // Brooklyn, NY
Who says pasta has to be last-minute carbo-fuel? Turn ordinary noodle night decadent with these classy corkscrews. Sfoglini gives new-school twists like local, seasonal herbs to their old-school shapes, punched from vintage bronze dies (dig those sauce-catching dimples). These get a dusting of spices from their Park Slope neighborhood bagel shop.
Nonna’s Smoky Sauce // City Saucery // New York, NY
City Saucery’s hearty blends are New-York-born by way of the founder’s grandma’s native Calabria — the toe of the boot, known for great wine and tongue-kicking cuisine, all spicy pickles, rich meats, and roasted veggies, especially eggplant, which gives the smoky base note to this gourmet gravy.
Israeli Couscous With Grilled Lemon & Smoked Olive Oil Recipe here
Israeli Couscous // Bob’s Red Mill // Milwaukie, OR
Smoked Olive Oil // Holy Smoke // Charleston, SC
Time was, side salads meant gloopy mayo and cold ziti — no wonder the Miller Man scoffed. But if you’re sipping craft beer and grilling prime cuts, your pasta should stand proud. With nutty, chewy semolina-flour pearls from the grain gods at Bob’s, cold-pressed California oil, smoked over Carolina hickory and pecan wood, and a spritz of juice from a couple charred lemon halves, the gifts of the grill can kiss even the meatless.
Hatch Chile Pesto // Gracious Gourmet // Bridgewater, CT
It’s a long way from Genoa to New Mexico, but the birthplace of Pesto meets it’s hatch in this American take on the Italian staple. You know a chile has a rabid following when it’s national festival manages to attract 30,000 visitors to the stifling sands of Hatch Valley, NM each August. Nancy Wekselbaum is graciously drinking the Kool-Aid of these chile-heads and has developed a unique hatchling spun off from traditional pesto that showcases southwestern flavours. We would go goat cheese and hatch chile panino or simply tossed with some spaghettini and pecorino.
100% Organic White Truffle Oil // Regalis // Brooklyn, NY
Almost every Michelin-starred New York restaurant worth its chef’s whites has truffles somewhere, somehow, on its menu — and almost every one buys them from Regalis. Want to savor those luscious Perigords with a three-figure Pinot? Get a reservation. We like our fanciest fungi lowest-brow: that is, fried. Cut up a few pounds of russet potatoes, drizzle with this white-truffle-infused cold-pressed Californian oil, and bake at 400 for an hour, flipping halfway through. Top with parmesan, serve without pretension.
Scarpetta Tuscan Vodka Sauce // Lynn, MA
Douse some penne in this stuff and take satisfaction in completely pulling the wool over the eyes of your guests. It helps to fire in some shrimp and finish with fresh herbs. Massachusetts makers “Sauces ‘n Love” take care of the sauce and the love, so you can get sauced and spend more time at the table rather than the stovetop.
Sfoglini Pasta Shop // Cavatelli // Brooklyn, NY
“Sfoglini are generations of ladies in Bologna who make pasta by hand.” explains head honcho Steve Gonzalez whose pedigree includes primping pasta at El Raco de Can Fabes, a Three Star Michelin spot in Spain. Steve and his partner Scott give a nod to this tradition of handmade pasta, pumping out seasonal varieties using American semolina flour and locally sourced ingredients like wild foraged ramps and Bronx Brewery Ale. This Cavatelli’s curved shape and long rolled edge helps hold thicker sauce, so no reason to look any further than Nonna’s Sweet Sauce, some fresh torn mozzarella and basil (equally as good at room temp).
City Saucery // New York, NY
Posing the question of what an Italian grandmother, a Venezuelan expat and a native New Yorker have in common sounds like the setup for a tasteless joke, but it’s actually the recipe for one of the tastiest small-batch tomato sauces in America. No this isn’t some East Side Mario’s schtick, “Nonna” actually exists, hailing from Brooklyn by way of Calabria she raised co-owner Michael on her family table tested recipe. Jorge found a seat at that table and the trio has been turning out home-made sauces using vine-ripened New Jersey tomatoes ever since.
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