The Comfort of Pasta
How many times a week do you reach for pasta to make a meal? It is one of our most popular items at the store, and for good reason. The versatility and utter carby-goodness of pasta can turn any meal into comfort food.
This issue is dedicated to pasta in all its glory. Let's start with a list of some of our favorite pastas, ingredients, and sauces.
Making your own pasta only requires of handful of basic ingredients. It is a fun project, and you end up with a perfect al dente bite. For the flour, we recommend using Caputo Pasta Fresca e Gnocci (fresh pasta and gnocci flour) from Italy.
A splash of olive oil moistens the dough, and a good quality olive oil makes all the difference in flavor. We are using Stutz Olive Oil
, either their Mediterranean Extra Virgin or the the California Extra Virgin. We also carry their 100% Organic Extra Virgin and their wonderful Balsamic Vinegar of Modena for flavoring sauces.
And, we always reach for fresh herbs whenever possible—try the fresh oregano, basil, and parsley from our produce department.
Fresh is great, but sometimes we need the time-saving shortcut of tomatoes in a can. Muir Glen harvests their Organic Tomatoes at peak season and packs them with a dash of salt. This pantry staple comes diced, whole peeled, and stewed.
San Marzano tomatoes are considered to be the best-tasting tomatoes in the world. And the Double Concentrated Tomato Paste (in a tube) that is made from them gives you delicious, concentrated tomato flavor just from one squeeze.
Fresh Pasta (in the freezer case)
Have you tried the fresh pasta from our local favorite, Genova Delicatessen
? The ravioli flavors that we carry include Artichoke, Ricotta, Spinach Ricotta, Turkey, Mushroom, and Meat. You can also find their White Gnocchi, Meat Tortellini, Cheese Tortellini, and Meat Lasagna.
Fresh Sauces (in the freezer case)
Fresh sauces can make all the difference when it comes to flavor. Check out our refrigerator case for these delicious sauces from Geonova Delicatessen: Pesto, Alfredo, Porcini Mushroom, Marinara, and Meat Sauce.
Sauces in a Jar
Tomato Sauces are some of our favorite for pantry storage. It is great to have a few on hand. Try their Puttanisca with Olives and Capers, Carciofi with Artichokes, and Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce. And, if you are looking for something that breaks tradition and is perfect for autumn, Stonewall Kitchen's
Butternut Squash Past Sauce is delicious.
Lately we have been reaching for DeCecco Dried Pastas as our go-to. Their pastas are consistently delicious and cook up beautifully every time. Plus they come in so many shapes and sizes that you will never get bored! We carry everything from several thickness of spaghetti, fedelini, and linguini to fusilli, racchette, penne rigate, elbows, orzo, farfalle, caratappi, rotelli…the list goes on. Some are whole wheat and other have spinach varieties. Stop by the store, it is like a pasta museum!
A Staff Favorite
From Yorkshire’s Oldest Brewery
Samuel Smith's Organic Cider is a medium dry cider with a brilliant straw-gold color and excellent clarity. It has a light body with brilliant conditioning, a crisp flavor, and a dry finish. The bouquet is fresh apples, with a soft apple blossom floral note. The cider is 5% ABV, registered vegan, and naturally gluten free. It is best served at about 44°F.
Founded in 1758 in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England, Samuel Smith–also known as The Old Brewery–is indeed the oldest brewery in Yorkshire. With traditional brewing methods used since its founding, the brewery still makes its own barrels and repairs all of its oak casks. The original well, sunk in 1758, is still in use, with its gypsum-rich hard brewing water drawn from 85 feet underground. Fortunately, some of their cider is exported to the United States.
And, since we don't live in Tadcaster, we won't be having our cider delivered on the Shire horse home delivery service. So, we will have to settle for picking up a few bottles at Piedmont Grocery.
News & Events
Enroll in a free online course.
Discover online courses for students grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. These courses teach scientific concepts while encouraging a sense of wonder and connection to the natural world. And, they offer them in both English and Spanish!
Some of the courses they offer include: Otter Spotters (Grades PreK-2), Tide Pool Scientist (Grades PreK-2nd), Birds on the Brain (Grades 3-5), Explore Like a Scientist (Grades 3-6), #TeensCan Make a Difference (Grades 6-12), Extreme Sea (Grades 7-12)
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
I’m looking forward to Thursday night. I am looking forward to Thursday night because I need a distraction from our current daily experience and it has offered up the perfect opportunity. Thursday night at 5:20 PM the NFL returns.
I am usually not one of those people who waits with bated breath for the NFL season to start every year—though I do enjoy watching the games. This year, for so many reasons, I really am looking forward to a few hours of not worrying about fires, viruses, or politics. I anticipate being more concerned about first downs and yards per carry. And, of course, I am looking forward to football food.
Now, since the game takes place in Texas and involves teams both from Texas and Kansas City you would think that BBQ would be on the menu. You would be wrong. I am steering clear of all things involving smoke and fire. So, because this first game is happening mid-week, I am not going to do the usual football spread and will go in a totally different direction.
I am going to go with a family comfort food favorite, Chicken Thigh Pasta, which I am shocked I haven’t written about before. This is my go-to recipe when I don’t know what the heck I wanna make for dinner. I could do it in my sleep at this point—and everyone in the family devours it. Also, I almost always have the ingredients on hand because, for me, they are pantry staples. The bonus is that it isn’t too bad for you health-wise. It's easy, and tasty, and perfect for a no-hassle football meal.
Thursday night will be a short return to normal, whatever that means at this point. But, it won’t be “normal” for everyone. For those of you packing up your homes and preparing to evacuate, stay safe and know that you are in our thoughts. For our firefighters on the front lines, there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for your herculean efforts. For the rest of us Californians as well as our friends to the north in Oregon and Washington, we can and will get through this.
A Staff Favorite
Delicious, Fresh, and Gluten-Free
If you are looking for a fresh gluten-free pasta, Manini's will not disappoint! Manini's does not compromise the satisfying taste of hand made pasta. And, they produce the highest quality and best tasting pasta anywhere. Say no to gummy, gluten-free pasta!
Manini's is made exclusively with gourmet-quality ancient grains in a dedicated facility—so it is safe for people with Celiac disease.
Here's what we currently have in the store:
Lemon Thyme Linguini
Traditional, slender, flat noodles, with a zesty and herbal twist, offers unforgettable flavor and uncompromising freshness.
Whether as a vessel for your favorite sauce or in a fresh pasta salad, these handmade Rigatoni noodles are perfect for any meal.
Roasted Garlic Fettuccini
Aromatic and delicious, Manini's fresh Roasted Garlic Fettuccini will tantalize your senses and your taste buds.
An Italian staple, fresh and delicious, this Spaghetti will surpass expectations time and time again.
A Cookbook Recommendation
By Lidia Bastianich
The Companion to her New 52-Part Public Television Series
Lidia Bastianich, loved by millions of Americans for her simple, delectable Italian cooking, gives us her most instructive, personal, and inspiring cookbook yet.
Focusing on the Italian-American kitchen—the cooking she encountered when she first came to America as a young adolescent—Lidia pays homage to this “cuisine of adaptation born of necessity.” But she transforms it subtly with her light, discriminating touch, using the authentic ingredients, not accessible to the early immigrants, which are all so readily available today. The aromatic flavors of fine Italian olive oil, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano and Gorgonzola dolce latte, fresh basil, oregano, and rosemary, sun-sweetened San Marzano tomatoes, prosciutto, and pancetta permeate the dishes she makes in her Italian-American kitchen today. And they will transform for you this time-honored cuisine, as you cook with Lidia, learning from her the many secret, sensuous touches that make her food superlative.
You’ll find recipes for Scampi alla Buonavia, Clams Casino, Caesar Salad, Baked Cannelloni, and Lasagna. Just as Lidia introduced new Italian regional dishes to her appreciative clientele in Queens in the seventies, so she dazzles us now with pasta dishes such as Bucatini with Chanterelles, Spring Peas, and Prosciutto, and Long Fusilli with Mussels, Saffron, and Zucchini. And she is a master at teaching us how to make our own ravioli, featherlight gnocchi, and genuine Neapolitan pizza.
Laced with stories about her experiences in America and her discoveries as a cook, this enchanting book is both a pleasure to read and a joy to cook from.
A Staff Favorite
The barbecue sauce against which all others can be judged.
If you are thinking of BBQ, consider Everett & Jones Super Q Sauce. We are crazy about it. If it is not already a favorite, you simply need to try it.
Not only is it a delicious mixture of fruity-sweetness and peppery flavor, but they are Oakland-based, and an all-around great company, with a heart-warming story.
San Francisco Magazine once said:
E & J’s barbecue remains the pride of the East Bay…But even a tofu cutlet would taste good swimming in E&J’s famous secret sauce, an irresistible blend of smoky tomato, tangy vinegar, and cayenne-laced complexity.
We carry their mild, medium, and hot—all three degrees of heat.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Fall Into a New Year
I did not grow up in a Jewish household, but I have always been fascinated by the connection of food to the traditions and ceremonies of the Jewish faith. The fact that I am drawn to the same foods that are typically found in Jewish kitchens is why I found myself thumbing through recently posted Rosh Hashanah recipes looking for something new.
I consider Rosh Hashanah to be one of the first signs of Fall, at least here in California where we don’t get the temperature drop or the obvious changing of the leaves as in other places. The food for the Jewish New Year is filled with all things fall. Apples, pomegranates, and pumpkins abound for the Rosh Hashanah feast. The only problem, for me at least, is that the tie to traditional ingredients can make it difficult to find a dish that is new and interesting.
Serving a whole fish is as traditional as it gets and I found plenty of recipes for that. But, I also found myself most intrigued by the chicken recipes, probably because I don’t think of chicken as a celebratory ingredient. Chicken is a mid-week work horse for me not the centerpiece of a feast. The chicken I made over the weekend might change my mind even though it’s as easy to throw together as any Wednesday night dinner. Even better, it actually qualifies as a sheet pan recipe so clean up is a breeze.
The original recipe called for dates, but I swapped them out for prunes—mainly because I find dates to be too sweet—and I love any opportunity to throw prunes into a recipe. Feel free to try it either way. I served this with garlic mashed potatoes, but it would be equally tasty with some fluffy, fresh couscous.
News & Events
After more than six months of closures due to safety precautions surrounding the COVID_19 pandemic, some of our favorite San Francisco museums are opening to the public this week.
Viewers can check out the offerings at SFMOMA free of charge, including free parking from October 4th through 18th. Over at the Asian Art Museum, guests will receive free admission from October 3rd through 12th. The deYoung Museum is now reopened with Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving.
In all cases, it is best to reserve your tickets online well in advance. The museums will be operating with reduced capacity. Social distancing and masks will be required.
Visit the museums' websites for details, to reserve tickets, and get information about online events.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
Of Sauce and Sorrow
About a week or so ago I made my favorite pasta sauce. The weather has actually been cooler than normal thanks, sadly, to all of the smoke and ash in the air. The drop in temp put me in to full-on fall cooking mode. So, I got out my slow cooker and went to work.
I was excited to make this sauce because I don’t make it very often—and it is truly one of my most favorite dinners. The main component is short ribs, which I love but can’t eat all that often. (If I would like to live long and prosper.) That being said, the recipe makes a lot, even for my family of five. So, we eat the short ribs with the sauce for Sunday dinner. And, then I freeze the rest of the leftover sauce to be used, over rigatoni or whatever boxed pasta I have in the pantry, for a mid-week meal somewhere on down the road. It’s a win-win. Until it’s not…
I woke up that Sunday morning looking forward to a great meal that had my mouth watering all day long. My daughter made some beautiful fresh pappardelle pasta and left it out to dry while the short ribs bubbled away in the crock pot. When everything was done we feasted on a rich and meaty short rib pasta dinner that was everything I had anticipated and hoped for. After dinner, we did the dishes that could be done and left the others to be loaded in the dishwasher the next morning. Just like normal.
The next morning when my alarm went off, I had this sense that something wasn’t right. Like I had forgotten something, but I couldn’t figure it out. I went ahead with my morning routine getting ready to go to work and when I emerged from my bedroom into the kitchen I realized what the problem was. In the chaos of cleaning the kitchen, we had set the slow cooker off to the side so the sauce could cool before I put it in containers and threw it in the freezer. You know the phrase out of site out of mind? Turns out I left the sauce out uncovered overnight. I was distraught. My husband thought someone died—though he was equally despondent when he realized we were going to have to throw out all the leftovers.
Here’s the thing. I am fairly militant about food temps and storage. I tend to be overly conservative when it comes to potential for food poisoning. I err on the side of caution. Sometimes to a fault. Though I do invoke the 5 second rule on occasion, there was no way I was going to be okay with keeping a meat-based pasta sauce that had been left out uncovered for 12 hours. It killed me to toss it. I am still emotional about it…which probably says more about my mental health during these wacky times than anything else. I mean it is only pasta sauce. But it was a spot of happy excitement during a time where bad news seems to be the norm. And, then that got 2020-ed as well. Sigh.
Here is the recipe for the sauce. It is one that I have posted before because, as I said, it’s a favorite and I highly recommend you give it a try. Just don’t forget to put it away…
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
Sparkling Rosé Sangria is packed with fresh berries, dry rosé, a hint of lime, a touch of vodka, and sparkling water. This light and refreshing cocktail is effervescent and perfect for a weekend brunch or sipping on the deck or patio!
Pasta Recipes from Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table
We have put together a list of some of our favorite pasta recipe from our archives. We have everything from hand-made pasta, to sauces, to mac n cheese, to soups. Enjoy!
Making your own pasta takes your recipe to a different level. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect the first time around. Keep in mind that Italians have been making pasta for centuries without fancy equipment. Just elbow grease and time. Clean wire hangers are great for drying your pasta. Give it a try or better yet make it a family activity to get people off their screens.
This meal takes a little more work than your average pasta recipe, but it is well worth the effort. It’s a great representation of fall flavors. And, the pumpkin is an obvious nod to Halloween. If you do not have a pasta machine it is just as easy to roll it out with a rolling pin.
You can never go wrong with this favorite Marinara sauce. Using fresh herbs makes all the difference in this quick and easy marinara.
This recipe makes a lot. So, you can eat the short ribs with the sauce the first dinner. And, then freeze the rest of the leftover sauce to be used, over rigatoni or whatever boxed pasta you have in the pantry, for a mid-week meal somewhere on down the road. It’s a win-win.
Every time we make it people ask for the recipe! The key is to use good quality olive oil. Try this with anything grilled and any left-overs are great as a light lunch the next day!
This recipe comes together easily and is delicious with the pork chops or anything grilled. Leftovers are even better the next day. This recipe actually makes a lot. It would be perfect for a potluck…when we can do that again!
We’re all about the Chicken Noodle Soup. Making your own stock ahead is essential so you will have it ready when you need it. And then you have a quick and easy dinner when paired with a gooey grilled cheese.
This is a great dinner hack for a weeknight Pacific Foods makes a great ready-made Pho broth base that we carry in our Asian section. And, just ask our guys in the meat department will slice you some extra-thin meat to cook in the boiling broth.
This is a great recipe for making in quantity and freezing a portion. Nothing better after a long hard day than a comforting plate of cheesy, pasta goodness. Pull it out the night before to thaw in the fridge, and pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes.
No-boil lasagna noodles turn the time-consuming task of making manicotti into something that can be done mid-week for dinner. Crazy! Again, this dish is easily freezable for happy occasion down the road.
The idea of cheese, ground beef and bacon mixed together with pasta began as a fourteen-year-old boy’s idea of food nirvana. And, it turned out surprisingly delicious—even to the skeptics among us.
Mac n Cheese
This recipe is delicious two ways, either as baked macaroni, or a creamy, stovetop macaroni. Your choice, depending upon how your day is going. (It takes an extra 20 to 25 minutes to bake, and it is definitely worth it on a good day!)
Lobster Mac and Cheese has the glamour of the lobster, heartiness for the hungry, and the comfort food factor to help those of us who are wondering what the world is coming to. Plus it goes well with some lovely champagne and bubbles will always lift your spirits…
This recipe is soooo good. It's definitely not diet but perfect for dinner and keeps us happy.
This recipe for Summer Salmon Pasta is a current obsession. It’s light but hearty enough for those nights you need just a little bit more.
Any short, tubular pasta will work with this gorgeous, meaty ragù. This is the perfect meal on a chilly night.
You can make this recipe with pan fried noodles (Hong Kong Style) or fresh cooked Chow Mein noodles. The crispy version is listed in the recipe but it’s easy to swap for the softer version.
You can double the recipe for the meatballs because some of us like our meatballs the size of tennis balls. If you prefer to make them smaller than that, just go with a single recipe.
This recipe just might become one for your usual rotation. Feel free to mess with the amount of lemon. Also, it turns out great with boneless skinless or even chicken thighs.
This is a great plant-based dinner that can also be used as a side for a larger meal. The recipe includes instructions for making the Japanese Togarashi Spice Blend.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
The Sidecar is a great introduction to the allure of a well-balanced sour drink.
The sidecar is a delicious, classic cocktail that has maintained its popularity for almost a century. The recipe was published in the 1920s and popularized (and possibly invented) by Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Others place the origin of the drink at the Buck’s Club in London.
The recipe was originally made with either cognac or Armagnac, and either will create an enjoyable brandy cocktail. Contemporary bars often pour bourbon rather than brandy. This technically makes it a bourbon sidecar.
Whichever base liquor you choose, be careful with the sidecar's other ingredients. It is a delicate balance between sweet and sour and too much of either the lemon or liqueur can throw off the intended flavor. A sugar-rimmed glass can add a sweet contrast to the sour drink.
Vendor of the Month
Handmade in San Francisco
Edwardo's is a long-time Piedmont Grocery favorite. They pride themselves in the love and effort put into making pasta. Using a traditional recipe that has stood the test of time—along with the freshest eggs and the best durum wheat and semolina from Montana, they really do make a superior product.
Eduardo's make an impressive variety of traditional pasta shapes. And, here is what we have in the store right now: Alfabeto, Capellini, Conchiglie (Medium Shells), Elbow Macaroni, Fettuccini, Fusilli, Tri-Colored Fusili, Pappardelle, Penne, Whole Wheat Penne, and Rigatoni.
Temporary Store Hours During Shelter-in-Place
10 AM to 8 PM
Special shopping hour for seniors
9 AM to 10 AM
We will update you with any new hours as the shelter-in-place situation unfolds.
4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.