Trader Joe’s $2.49 pappardelle is a budget dinner staple

Deputy Editor Hana Asbrink has 24 hours a day and 379 things to do. In her monthly column, Shortcut to Dinner, she lassos over-performing products to show weeknights who’s boss (it’s Hana).

We all know that dry pasta is one of the most difficult items to work with in our pantries. Sure, fresh pasta is deliciously moist and cooks in a fraction of the time. But even a simple recipe that involves fresh pasta will take you a lot longer from start to finish once you factor in the kneading, resting, rolling, and cutting of the dough. And while the dried texture is simpler, it involves virtually no active time, a godsend on a weeknight and, frankly, weekends too.

The dried egg pappardelle is a happy medium. Made with durum wheat flour and, you guessed it, eggs, this pasta is more enriched than the standard varieties you might normally pick up off the shelf. Eggs provide a wealth of flavor and flexibility in the kitchen, easily stepping in where fresh noodles (think noodles in shallot oil or umami noodles with walnuts) would be needed. You get the vibe of homemade pasta without any work.

One of my favorites to rely on is Trader Joe’s Egg Pappardelle Pasta. They are sold in smaller 8 oz. packets and sit among TJ’s dried noodles. What sets this pasta apart from others on the aisle is twofold: it cooks relatively quickly, taking 6-7 minutes to al dente; and they’re compelling for fresh produce when you don’t have time to make pappardelle from scratch (or find it in a supermarket or Italian grocer).

Dried pappardelle at Trader Joe’s was also offered in small nests, although this version did not contain eggs. Occasionally, you can find these, and similar styles (like linguine), flavored with ingredients like spinach or lemon.

An 8 oz. the package is currently $2.49 and feeds 1-2 people. The noodles are sturdy enough to withstand a meaty Weeknight Ragù, but also nicely coated in a bright cream sauce like this, with a lemon-garlic flavor, topped with slivers of crispy prosciutto.

As with many pasta recipes, here the reserved cooking water is the key to a successful marriage between the noodles and the sauce, guaranteeing an emulsified dish whose velvety texture will belie its short cooking time.

Make the recipe:

Creamy lemon pappardelle with crispy prosciutto

This easy garlic cream sauce comes together faster than your pasta cooks.

See the recipe

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