Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Trader Joe's Perline Pasta & Prosciutto

Happy New Year!

No doubt, it's a pretty widespread tradition to have pork on New Year's. Something about pigs only being able to go forward. I'm not sure if that's really true, but then again, I've never seen a pig do the moonwalk...have you? Anyways, that's not exactly how us Shelly's roll. Last night, while everyone was no doubt ringing in the New Year with some champagne (or a reasonable facsimile), we were at home, on the couch, sipping on some iced tea and egg nog, content to watch the local telecast because let's face it, Times Square isn't the same without Dick Clark, despite, well, you know. Yup, we're apparently getting old and lame. At least Baby M was pretty ecstatic before passing out at right about 12:07am.

Anyways, despite our lack of pork today, at least we had some last night with Trader Joe's Perline Pasta & Prosciutto. Prosciutto is a mighty fine cut of meat, perhaps not as high up as pastrami on "meats that begin with 'P'" ranking, but when done well, certainly above pepperoni. And I love pepperoni. Sandy picked these up last week on one of her rare solo grocery shopping trips, and made them up for dinner with a little organic vodka sauce.

They're not too bad. I'm not sure if vodka sauce would be the right accompaniment for them, as it seemed to hide a little flavor subtlety that I could almost sense, but then again, I'm not sure what sauce would be. As is, the pasta kinda reminded me of little squid-shaped sacks with little balls of meat for its brains. The pasta part tastes pretty good - there's at least something that visually resembles rosemary in it, and it kinda tastes like it too - while the meat part took me a few bites to get into it. It's prosciutto kinda all ground up and mixed in with some beef and breadcrumbs and whoknowswhatelse to make a little meatball. To be honest, the first few felt a little gritty and smushy and I wondered where the flavor was. But then it kinda all started kicking in, and I could taste all the little different parts working together to make the filling a fairly unique concoction. I'm not sure I would make prosciutto, beef, breadcrumbs and whoknowswhatelse a regular meatball recipe, but I'm not sure I wouldn't try it out anyways. It works, but for me, just barely, at least in this iteration.

Sandy loves these little prosciutto pasta purses though. Loves them. When she brought out our bowls, she had that look on her face and tone in her voice when she said, "You're gonna hate these. I'll do you a favor and just eat them for you." That's a thinly veiled code in our house that we want something all to ourselves nearly as bad as Smeagol wants the One Ring. She gives them a four and a half, and stated the only thing that keeps them from being a full-handed five is the nutritional info (egads!  look at the sodium and cholesterol!). Me? Kinda like this other fresh pasta concoction, I could make do with or without them, but with the right sauce, maybe I'd be more on board. I'll say a three.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Perline Pasta and Prosciutto: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Maybe the vodka sauce was too heavy? try browning some butter and adding sage leaves... and parm (of course),.I've tried these and they're a cute size..

  2. Yikes! At first glance I thought these had an expiration date of 2/2/20!

  3. I've never heard of Perline before, but they look very similar to toretellini or Cappelletti? I like those filled with prosciutto in a strong chicken broth. or with wilted spinach and garlic

  4. Love these!! I make them with TJ's marinara.

  5. I made them with a light homemade Alfredo sauce (super easy and only 80 cals per 1/3 c serving and natural ingredients) The hubby thought them delicious, I got into them after a few bites, our 6 year old daughter thought that combo was good enough for three servings. So in this household, winner winner chicken dinner!

  6. You have to make them with brown butter and parmesan cheese shaved on top!

  7. Accompanied with carmelized red onion, asparagus, white wine, dash of lemon juice and a smidge of dijon mustard...Delicious!!!!

  8. THey are good, but why is there veal and mortadella in there? That doesn't make sense. Proscioutto is only the leg of a pig that is cured. Why these other ingredients are in there are beyond me.

  9. As of 2/22/17, this product is discontinued. I am so sad. This was an easy way to get protein into my 5-year old. He LOVED these things.