A few days after I landed in the U.S., 20 some years ago, I had the most memorable meal of my life. I had moved into the dorms at the University of Kansas, and a girl down the hall shared a bowl of pasta with me—bowties coated with red sauce. I spent the remaining four years of college buying Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce and Barilla Farfalle with money I made working as a teaching assistant. I had never tasted anything more delicious.
Growing up, my mom made three meals a day from scratch—she would have never bought jarred sauce. In fact, I’m sure I didn’t know it existed. So I thought, America sure does have amazing food! I still think so, especially when shopping at Trader Joe’s.
Welcome back! This is the second month I’m here to share the new Trader Joe’s finds I tried, loved, and can’t wait to tell you about. In case you missed it, here’s last month’s pick.
The Best New TJ’s Product of February
It never feels like a tall order to make dinner when I have dry pasta in the pantry. Going forward, that pasta is going to be Trader Joe’s Organic Trofie Pasta ($1.99 for a pound), a newcomer to TJ’s affordable carb offerings.
Trofie (pronounced tro-fee-eh) is an Italian pasta from the Riviera. The fresh pasta is made by rolling a small piece of dough with the palm of your hand against the table. They are irregularly-shaped corkscrews, about an inch long, sort of like a skinny Cheeto. The ends are slightly tapered, so when cooked the middle is slightly chewier, in the best way. It’s just pasta, but it’s the only one I want to eat going forward.
Traditionally, trofie is served with pesto—the sauce gets stuck in the gaps between the spirals. I’d gladly eat it with any sauce, and I have. I toss it with brown butter, black pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan, simply with a jarred sauce (lately, we’re into this pesto rosso), or just olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Dinner makes it to the table in under 15 minutes, and then my family falls silent over our bowls as we shove pasta into our mouths. Name a quicker, more satisfying meal. I can’t!
Bonus: A Limited Edition Find—Get It While You Can
One product I will always try at Trader Joe’s is coffee. Every few months, they release limited-edition coffee beans, and most of the time, they’re nothing to write home about. Well, I’m writing to you about this one! Zamora Ecuador Small Lot Coffee ($9.99 for a 12-ounce bag) is for fans of low acid, smooth coffee. It’s chocolate-y with a lingering sweetness. Try it while it’s still available!