Around the same time we were asked to test-drive a rich, decadent cheesecake, we were also asked to try pasta from a company called Garofalo. Now, dear readers, I really hope you don’t think we would sell out and become a blog purely about taste-testing and dedicated to kissing bum to those who dare to send us free stuff.Â We will not ever become that type of blog. We will always be willing to try free food stuff (I stress the word free) but we will never, and I repeat NEVER say good things about something we hate.Â I will not lie about free food products we receive and would rather, instead, just not waste my time writing about it.Â But this pasta test-drive ended up being a way different experience than I thought it would be.
After that kick-a$$ cheesecake we devoured I figured that free pasta would pale in comparison.Â Boy was I wrong.Â As most of you know, we prefer savory food over sweets and I’d take a big, steaming bowl of perfectly al dente pasta over a cheesecake any day.Â I’m serious here.Â Garofalo’s pappardelle from their “signature line” did the trick. We paired this fabulously tasty pasta with a hearty Sausage Ragu and it held up while adding that perfect chew to the dish.
I know I go on and on (and on) about how important perfectly al dente pasta is to me, but I can’t imagine wasting a fabulous sauce on a crappy, soggy bit of pasta.Â Too often if you follow the instructions on the back of a box of pasta you’ll be left with it way overcooked.Â My rule of thumb is to always subtract two minutes from the given instructions and usually I get the perfect chew.Â This time I decided to test Garofalo’s (hey, it was free) to see if their instructions were bang-on. 8 minutes is what it said and 8 minutes was all it needed.Â Maybe they got it right because this pasta is actually made in Italy, “near the ruins of Pompeii”.Â It actually tastes like it is made in Italy.Â The other thing I love about Garofalo pasta is that they offer “different” pasta shapes besides the obvious penne, spaghetti and linguine.Â Some of these specialty cuts include schiaffoni (large oval-shaped noodle) and calamarata (like thick-cut calamari rings).Â These are the types of shapes I want to eat when I’m bored of the norm.
No lie – I highly recommend this pasta, especially along with our deliciously hearty sausage ragu.Â In fact, I’m writing the rep from the company to ask where I can get some in Brooklyn.Â I have a feeling I’ll have to harass the manager at my local grocery store to order some, but it will be worth it.
- 1 lb. pappardelle (dried or homemade)
- 1 lb. ground sausage meat (or sausage links taken out of the casings)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1 cup of peas (I used frozen)
- salt and pepper
What to do:
- Saute your onions and garlic in some olive oil for a few minutes to get some color on them.Â Add the sausage meat and break up with a wooden spoon.Â Allow to brown for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the fennel seed and stir.
- Add in the red wine and stir into the meat.Â Allow to cook down for a minute.Â Add the whole can of tomatoes.Â Let this cook on medium-low and stir.Â It will cook for about 20-30 minutes until all the flavors come together.
- While the ragu comes together, boil some salted water.Â About ten minutes before you’re ready to eat, boil your pasta till al dente and add directly into the ragu along with a 1/4 ladel-full of pasta water. Add peas.Â Cook for 30 seconds, toss in some basil and plate.Â Serve with parmigiano reggiano. Enjoy!