An online community for gourmet and specialty food retailers.

Welcome to Fancy Food & Culinary Products' blog, your place to read reviews of the great fancy and gourmet products we find in the marketplace.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Editor's Choice: Baronia

I’ve never quite understood the pasta snobs out there in the culinary world. Maybe it’s because the blood running through my veins is exactly zero-percent Italian. But honestly, pasta is pasta…right?

I can hear them now. “WRONG!” they shout as their faces grow as red as a hot pot of Sunday gravy. Settle down, macaroni aficionados and fusilli connoisseurs! I finally get it! There is a distinct difference when you’re cooking good pasta.

When we received a package full of different varieties of Baronia Italian pasta, I took home the organic whole-wheat penne rigate for some experimentation. Relax, everyone; I wasn’t about to douse those precious tubes with an inferior jar of Prego. I was on a mission to make a meal with fresh ingredients to complement the authentic flavors of the pasta.

Luckily, my garden has been blessed with an overabundance of tomatoes this summer. Penne alla Vodka was definitely in order. To begin, I heated some olive oil in a pan and added chopped garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. I then removed the pan from the heat and added the vodka (note: cook with the stuff you would drink, aka, the good stuff). Returning the pan to the flame, I tossed in diced tomatoes, coarse salt and fresh black pepper. When my pasta was done cooking (I like mine al dente, so I boiled it for about 13 minutes), I drained it and added it to the pan. Finally, I poured in heavy cream and stirred until all the pasta was coated. I finished off the dish with freshly torn basil from my garden and some shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The first word that comes to mind when I tasted this dish was “robust.” The pasta’s pure earthiness combined with the sun-soaked flavor of the tomatoes was divine. And the extra kick from the red pepper flakes and vodka added a bite that balanced well with the mild cheese and cool basil.

This recipe is surprisingly foolproof and unsurprisingly delicious, so tout it away to your customers when you are promoting a high-quality pasta such as Baronia. And most importantly, let them know that it just won’t taste the same with a box of mediocre grocery-store pasta.

Visit to see more of Baronia’s offerings.