A few nights ago I wanted to throw something simple together and reached way back into the bottom cupboard because I knew there was a bag of 'gourmet' pasta back there somewhere. I say 'gourmet' very lightly because it seems everything nowadays is 'gourmet' or 'artisanal'. Humph. Whatever.
I just wanted to cook it up and use it. The one I found is called calamari because the pasta rings look thick cut and big like rings of real calamari that are usually fried and eaten as an appetizer at most restaurants.
Starting by pan searing some Italian sausage then throwing the pan in the oven to continue to cook while I put together a quick marinara sauce with roasted garlic. Pasta water just started to boil so I salted it heavily then threw the pasta in...meanwhile the sausage came out of the oven and I put them in the pan with the sauce and let simmer till the pasta was done. Because of the size of the pasta I used a spider (instead of using a colander) to fetch all the pasta out of the water and dump it in the pan with the sauce and sausages.
Even when the whole dish was done the pasta still had a bit of a chew and great taste. I was surprised. So today I looked up the name of the pasta and where it was from because it seems like any knucklehead company is making any pasta shape they want and pass it off as being 'gourmet'. Well, there is an actual pasta called calamari that comes from Gragnano Italy where the company there still uses bronze cutting die and they still air dry the pasta.
My wife and I loved it even before I checked for the origin of it, and like most dishes of this nature my wife said it tasted even better the second time around. She took it to work and shared it.
We usually buy bits of food things here and there 'on sale' and throw them in the cupboard or fridge to try later...sometimes disappointing, sometimes surprisingly good.