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Trader Joes: Cinnamon flavored pasta: What???

My SIL made a mac n cheese casserole nd brought it over earlier. Pretty standard recipe. Elbows, onions, cheese sauce and buttered bread crumbs. Distinct cinnamon flavor! Actually was not reaaly bad, just not expected. When she went home, she tasted the dry uncooked elbows, and they were cinnamon. Anyone els found this recently? Bought at the Saugus MA store. She is going to mention it next time she shops.

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  1. I stopped buying TJ's dried pasta a couple of years ago because of that very thing. It really ticked me off to have that flavor in my dish without it being part of the ingredient list and noted on the front of the package. It happened a few times and I finally realized it wasn't a fluke or that it had been stored with a shipment of spices. I'm not sure if it's cinnamon, nutmeg or some other sweet spice, but it doesn't belong in pasta!

    I usually shop at the Cambridge TJ's or the Arlington MA store.

    1. Would pair well with a Greek-style red sauce with minced lamb. Garlic, onion, and oregano. Garnish with crumbled feta. Gonna keep my eye out for it although TJ's is not a regular stop for me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: letsindulge

        This is a great "glass half full" reply.

        1. re: letsindulge

          I think Pastitio (a Greek comfort food pasta dish) actually includes cinnamon.

          1. re: julesrules

            You are correct!! This was just odd as the pasta was not supposed to be a cinnamon flavored pasta, and the flavor was pronounced. It was still tasty, just unexpected!

            1. re: macca

              Oh of course it was odd and completely uncalled for...I was just riffing on letsindulge's recipe idea. I've never heard of cinnamon flavoured pasta and don't feel I need to try it :)

          1. I bought the TJ pasta a couple times and couldn't figure out what the odd taste was. Didn't occur to me that it might be cinnamon. I stopped buying it for that very reason -- it gave my pasta dishes an odd flavor that I didn't want.

            1. Never had their pasta. H.E.B. the big grocerystore chain here in Texas makes a low gylemic pasta. I've tried it and it isn't bad,but it does have also a slight cinnamon taste or smell.it isn't really strong,but maybe the Trader Joe's is.
              They might change it if enough people should complain.

              1. Ick! Now if it was labelled 'cinnamon pasta' that would be one thing (maybe you could make a dessert with it...), but I can't think it would work too well in baked ziti or spaghetti!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kajikit

                  It's not super strong, but it is distracting. It must sell okay anyway, though, since it's been an issue for some of us for quite a while.


                2. TJs dried pasta is revolting. But strangely, check out this blind taste test from four renowned New York chefs. Seems a good reason to avoid their restaurants like the plague:)


                  1. Cinnamon is often used in savory dishes.

                    Chili and "Indian buffet" dishes come to mind.

                    Perhaps the TJ cooks thought their pasta would only be used in those applications?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pedalfaster

                      I find that rather unlikely, tbh:) I'm yet to venture to an Indian restaurant that offers ms a "Spaghetti Lamb Madras".......

                    2. I just listened to Adam Gopnik discussing seduction foods on America's Test Kitchen Radio. He said that Casanova recommended macaroni and cheese, including a little sugar and cinnamon, as the ultimate seduction entree. Maybe there's more of a pasta/cinnamon history than has been thoroughly investigated.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greygarious

                        But shouldn't it be listed in the ingredient list?

                      2. I'm so glad you posted this- I just bought dried pasta at the Saugus store too and made it last night and it tasted like cinnamon! I won't buy it again, it was such a weird flavor.

                          1. I don't have a link, but it has to do with a wild strain of wheat that has a pronounced cinnamon flavor growing in certain areas of Italy. TJ's has had this problem for years, and I've noticed it in Rienzi. I generally use Lydia's, which has been entirely free of the taste, as has Dell Verde (I recommend both of these generally, anyway).

                            I don't know if American-grown pasta has the same problem.

                            1. Yes! The orrecciette (sp?) is definitely cinnamony. Weird. I even like cinnamon in savories, but not in the pasta.