A Packaged Dinner…

SmokedMozzarellabfLOWe try to make dinner on Fridays ‘treat’ dinners – that may be the day we order Chinese, pizza, or even KFC (another product of a another Kentucky Colonel). As a side bar; the one time Rich and I ‘discussed’ picking up KFC takeaway on Facebook was my highest ever commented on status thingy. IRREGARDLESS; back to Friday’s ‘treat’ dinner.

We had picked up some frozen smoked mozzarella agnolotti (oh MAN is this stuff nice!) during our last stop at Tenuta’s; and Rich had found this interesting looking Spicy Alla Vodka sauce at Cost Plus last week. A quick look will show you ‘Imported from Italy’ in ALL CAPS just above the sheaf of wheat charmingly held by the little Tuscan(?) –  well, in any event no doubt Italian – girl on the right side of the label. Of course, a closer read of the label (front AND back) illuminates us to the fact that it is the TOMATOES and SPICES that were hand-selected back in the old country before ultimately being brought to Coitsville, Ohio to reach their full potential in sauce form. Ignoring that bit of food origin trickery, I can tell you that the nice folks at Gia Russa Foods make one fine vodka sauce! It wasn’t an inexpensive jar of sauce, but I’ve seen costlier that didn’t have the flavor and slight ‘bite’ this one did (I believe Cost Plus was cheaper than the Gia Russa web site). I also like the fact the reading the ingredients didn’t require digging out my college chemistry texts – everything real, right down to the ‘all natural xanthan gum’ which, I gather, you can actually buy on Amazon.com as a substitute for gluten (answers my question about why couldn’t they just start with a nice roux?). Rich thought the sauce tasted like a nice Arrabiata, and I can’t say he’s not correct. I will say that I have never been a huge fan of vodka sauces, but this one has converted me.

We rounded out dinner with a simple salad of romaine, sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, red pepper, peperoncini, red onion, feta cheese and English cucumber. We SHOULD have served a nice red wine with it, but a bottle of cheap – er, INEXPENSIVE (value-priced?) – Chardonnay was already on ice and open, and the day was hot and stuffy…

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