Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta

I was in Trader Joe's, planning to buy some simple egg noodles to use with the Italian Sausage-less Sausage in my most recent nearly-all-TJ's-dinner, when I spotted the above-pictured package. I had never heard of pappardelle pasta before, nor had I ever before purchased any of the many flavored pastas on the market. But I thought the noodles looked very attractive, and when I tried to imagine what they would taste like, I thought the lemon-pepper would be a good match to the fake sausage. So in my basket they went.

I think I was right. They did pair nicely with the fake sausage. However, they got sticky and gloppy. That was the fault of my preparation. I should have given them a quick hot-water rinse after cooking to remove excess starch, and I intended to toss them with a little butter for coating before serving, but got busy with everything else that was done cooking at the same time and forgot. (That last two minutes before eating is always so hard, trying to get everything done at once!)

The lemon flavor was mild but easy to notice. Not so with whatever pepper flavor there may have been. Of course, that might have been because of the dominance of the fake sausage spiciness.

In fact, that leads to a consideration of the whole flavored-pasta problem. Unless you're serving it plain or with just butter or oil, whatever else you put it with is likely to dominate the mild flavoring that is the whole reason for buying it instead of regular pasta. Marinara sauce, to cite the most obvious pairing, would probably make both the lemon and pepper vanish into the background. Which kind of makes you question whether there's any point to the flavoring.

That said, I did like these. I don't think I had ever had noodles this big, and I liked that quality. Lemon-pepper pappardelle pasta is never going to become my mainstay pasta, but it was a lovely, mildly interesting diversion from the norm.

Will I buy it again? 

Once in a while, sure.

Nina's View

I liked these. The lemon flavor was subtle but distinct, and the pepper was just peppery enough. They were, however, (as Bob said) somewhat overwhelmed by the spicy Sausageless Sausage. 

So, how should they be prepared and served?

Well, first thing is not to overcook them. They should have a little chew to them (al dente). I'd taste-test them regularly toward the end of their cooking time to make sure they don't get overdone—bearing in mind that they continue to cook even after removal from the heat source. I would make sure to use plenty of cooking water and not add oil to it, which in my experience tends to prolong cooking time while making it uneven, and does nothing to prevent sticking. (YMMV).

If cooked for the right amount of time in the right amount of water, rinsing is unlikely to be necessary. I would drain quickly and toss with some butter and/or olive oil immediately.

This pasta would benefit from a simple primavera presentation: a mix of fresh small-cut vegetables would do nicely. I'd consider enhancing the lemon flavor with a simple garlic-lemon-butter sauce. Or a very light alfredo. Or just butter and good quality parmesan. Not every pasta needs a sauce!

1 comment:

  1. I've never tried the lemon-pepper version, but the plain Pappardelle pasta was a staple in our house (until I stopped eating flour). I suggest you try it.