An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Oct 20, 2013
06:14 AMThe Connecticut Table
Artisan Sauces for Pasta From Danbury Perfect for Autumn Meals
Laurie Gaboardi/Litchfield County Times
A jar of tomato sauce from Villarina's Pasta & Fine Foods of New Milford.
With the weather turning decidedly cooler these days, I asked my old friend, Joseph Cicio, if at last it was time for him to do a remake of a simple but memorable dish he had served last fall, Baked Rigatoni with a Bolognese Sauce.
I love the consistency of baked pasta but especially loved the sauce he had made for it. He thought for a moment and mentioned that what he had used as a base for the Bolognese was a jarred marinara sauce from Villarina's Pasta & Fine Foods in New Milford. That struck a cord with me because, while I had never visited the shop, other friends of mine often serve hors d’oeuvres with the best-ever, sesame seed-covered breadsticks from the same store (via Brooklyn or the Bronx). It was clearly time for me to make an expedition to Vallerina’s.
While pumpkins are beginning to appear and Halloween candy has invaded the world, what really fueled my mission is that the garden vegetables that I most enjoy, such as zucchini, yellow squash and fresh epplant, are still spilling forth… just! There are thousands of ways to cook them, alone or in combinations, but do it using a good tomato sauce and wowie!
On my trip in to Villarina’s, I came home with one of each of their four tomato sauces, all made in their own professional kitchen in Danbury, and each packaged in generous, 32-ounce glass jars. What makes these sauces outstanding is that each and every one of them has a light, sweet, fresh, tomato taste … no bitterness whatsoever. They are the perfect beginning for any kind of cooking that calls for a tomato sauce base. Really!
Their four varieties are:
Tomato—the most basic, smooth consistency, used by Vallerina’s in all of its prepared “to-go” dishes, $9.99;
Marinara—chunky and thicker, made with olive oil and tomato paste, $9.99;
Fra Diavola—a medium-thick sauce with real kick. It is made with the same ingredients as the other sauces with the addition of cherry peppers, crushed red pepper, and sundried tomatoes, $9.99,
Filetto—the thickest of the four, which includes fine pieces of pancetta and prosciutto. It is a hearty sauce with a slightly smokey flavor and pairs well with a plain pasta or a plain ravioli, $10.99.