It’s not often that I will go out of my way to purchase ready-made food items, but markets are one of the best places to sample and shop for these. If you are visiting the city, or live here, a trip to the St. Lawrence Market can be a real treat. Especially if you go on a Saturday when the Farmers Market it open on the North side. There are tables full of home made goods to try.
A co-worker told me about an amazing sauce that you can buy at St. Lawrence Pizza & Ice Cream. It’s near the back of the St. Lawrence Market on the west side of the main level just past the seafood vendors. Aziz, the owner, is usually next to the pasta-making machine as it churns out the various fresh pasta that they make on a daily basis. During the Saturday market frenzy, they typically have a table set up with strips of various stuffed ravioli, spaghetti, penne, gnocchi, all sold by weight. The first time I stopped by this vendor, I purchased the tricolour gemelli pasta (at least that’s what I think that shape is called) with their tomato sauce.
I had made a big batch of meatballs a few weeks earlier, and froze them without the sauce I usually make them in, and had some thawing in the fridge waiting to be introduced to this new sauce. I added a few other veggies and topped everything off with a bit of parmesan. Heaven with a glass of red wine!
Then I saw their tricolour sauce. A blend of tomato sauce, garlic béchamel and pesto. All I can say is… AAA-maaaazing!!
I can’t believe how many years I’ve been going to the market and never gave that vendor a second glance. Granted I’m typically there on a Saturday and picking up a list of things. The crowds can be overwhelming with barely enough room to squeeze through the aisles, especially during the summer, and I don’t usually buy something to eat while I’m picking up groceries. There is always a huge crowd at this vendor, and it’s no wonder!!
Their pasta sauce is always readily available and so much better than any of the mass produced kinds you will buy off the shelves of your favourite grocery store. It is made with the freshest ingredients, does not contain any preservatives, freezes well and is also available in regular or spicy. Whenever I stop by, I’ll pick up a couple containers (now that I’m hooked on it) and will freeze one or I’ll end up eating all of it the day I bring it home. At $8 for the large container, it is well worth the price if you want a special treat. It’s also really good on pizza and amazing in lasagna.
On my last visit there (on a Friday during lunch) I decided to pick up a bag of gnocchi that they had available in their freezer behind the cash register. Great, now I’m hooked on THAT as well. They are just amazing, light and fluffy pillows of yumminess.
I let them thaw out then dropped them into boiling water. An important thing to remember with gnocchi, especially when it’s made fresh, is to scoop it out of the boiling water as soon as they pop to the surface of the water. It doesn’t take very long either. It’s kind of like popcorn. One or two pop up then all of a sudden, the surface is crowded with them.
Have your favourite sauce hot and ready then toss them in and serve them as quickly as possible.
Note to self: a little goes a LOT further than you expect, so a handful is plenty for a single serving!
This summer, I will definitely be trying their selection of hand-scooped ice creams and frozen yogurt!