The flight home from Italy was excruciating. Mainly because I was going home…and home wasn’t Italy. It was 2011 and Simon and I had spent two glorious weeks awestruck at the art and architecture, speaking terrible Italian to the obliging locals, and eating plate after plate of incredible pasta. The pasta my friends! This is one of the two reasons leaving Italy was so hard. The other reason being that it was Italy. If you’ve ever been…you know.
The pasta is quite simply beyond words. The taste, texture, smell—Simon and I spent many meals in near silence, eyes locked, in love—with the life-altering experience that eating handmade Italian pasta is. Light, tender, delicately bathed in fresh ingredients and sauces (never foundering in marinara like is too often the case stateside). I was left with the impression that making Italian pasta is part skill, part magic.
That brings me to today’s post. Italian level—in terms of quality—pasta is hard to track down in the states. Unless you have an Italian grandmother to turn to of course, which I don’t. I’ve made handmade pasta a few times and it’s far better than the stuff you can find in a store but it’s time consuming to make and I have yet to master it. Enter Pasta Crate! They are a new company that sends you a monthly box of incredible, hand-made, small-batch pastas from the finest makers in the country!
This month’s box was from Sfoglini in Brooklyn. I received one pound each of their zucca, whole grain spaccatelli, and beet fusilli. They use traditional Italian methods when it comes to their pasta making, in efforts to bring Italian quality pasta to you. The best part is I didn’t even have to leave home to get it!
How it works is simple. Click here to visit Pasta Crate’s site and become a member. The shipping is free and each month you get to try something new. I can’t wait to see what the next shipment holds! Each box contains about 24-28 servings and there are more than 350 pasta varieties to try. Use the code CRAVINGS10 at checkout to receive 10% off for life!
I had my eye on the beet fusilli from the moment I opened the box. The color is a beautiful dusky purple and the flavor was intriguing. If you get stumped on what to make, Pasta Crate includes a pamphlet with a little info on the makers behind the pasta, recipes for each type, and wine paring! I decided I wanted to develop recipe reminiscent of a beet salad, treating the pasta like the Italians do; with respect. I incorporated a few quality ingredients with a delicate sauce.
I made a browned balsamic butter sauce with crispy sage, fresh goat cheese, spicy candied pecans, lemon, and a drizzle of honey to finish. The combination of sweet and savory flavors was ideal for beet fusilli! You’ll want to be sure and invest in some good quality balsamic vinegar and goat’s cheese—with so few ingredients quality is key! This is a perfect lunch or diner recipe, easy to make, and full of balanced flavor. I also love that it can be enjoyed cold; I added some arugula to the refrigerated leftovers for a quick pasta salad!
This post was sponsored by Pasta Crate.
- 16 oz. Sfoglini Beet Fusilli
- 1/8 cup pasta water
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- 20-ish sage leaves
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice + Tsp. lemon zest
- 6 oz. goat cheese
- ½ cup chopped candied pecans (mine were a sweet and spicy blend from Trader Joe’s)
- Honey, for serving, optional
- Cook pasta in salted water (I usually add about 1 Tbsp.) according to package instructions. Reserve 1.8 cup of the pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in sage leaves and cook until crisp and the butter begins to lightly brown.Keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn't burn.
- Turn off the heat and add in balsamic vinegar and water, stirring to combine. Careful, it might splatter.
- Add in pasta, tossing to coat evenly with sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Let pasta sit, covered for a few minutes to absorb the sauce.
- Top with pecans and dollops of the goat cheese
- Serve with a drizzle of honey and a little more balsamic if desired.
- Buon Appetito!