If you’re looking for the world’s easiest fall dinner, Trader Joe’s and I have you covered. Simply run to your nearest TJ’s, put on your snack blinders so you don’t get caught up filling your cart with their new s’mores gone wild bites or crunchy, cheesy, seedy, munchy bars. And book it to the refrigerated section with the cheese and the pesto and the fresh pasta. There you will find Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Ravioli. Grab one package if you don’t totally trust me. Grab five if you know what’s good for you.
The ravioli are triangular (fun!) and filled with lots of creamy butternut squash puree that tastes like it’s lightly spiced with things like nutmeg and cinnamon (even though those ingredients are nowhere on the label). It costs less than $4. It’s so comforting and cozy and it really makes it feel like fall, even if it’s actually 95 degrees outside. And with just the tiniest bit of effort, this pasta can be restaurant quality.
A long, long time ago, I used to work at a wine bar in the depths of Brooklyn where the Ukrainian chef used to make the most wonderful gnocchi with brown butter and crispy fried sage. (She also made these stewed mushrooms in sour cream and butter and I would desperately love the recipe, if you’re reading this, Natasha!) I can’t make gnocchi. I’ve tried and failed many, many times. But I can boil up some Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Ravioli, brown some butter in a pan (really good salted butter), throw in some sage leaves, and then toss everything together. Serve with some crusty bread to sop up the nutty butter (perhaps one of the top-rated Trader Joe’s breads, as long as you’re at the store), and you have yourself a pasta dish I could sell to a wine bar customer for $17.