It’s been a long trying day at the office. There is an accident on the highway and the commute home takes twice as long as usual. First order of business after arriving home: what’s for dinner? In an exhausted state, you open the freezer door and pull out a meal severely lacking in both taste and excitement. Luckily, THERE IS A BETTER WAY! Located at 92A Elm Street in Morristown, ESO Artisanal Pasta offers scrumptious meals that can be cooked in minutes.

ESO was founded with the intent to “provide quality pasta and sauces that can be cooked at home to have a beautiful family experience.” In that regard, ESO succeeds with flying colors. It boasts consistent, quality dishes throughout the spectrum of Italian cuisine. Among ESO’s catalog, customers can find classic favorites such as ragu and pomodoro sauces – elevated with top quality ingredients. For those with more adventurous palettes, Chef offers a squid based bolognese sauce and a Panna E Funghi – which features a combination of portobello, Shiitake, and King Oyster mushrooms. There’s always something new to see at ESO as the selection of pasta and sauces perpetually rotates.

Happily, ESO has incredible handmade pasta to compliment its fantastic sauces. Head chef AJ Sankofa refuses to cut any corners in his pasta making process. He sources the highest quality Italian flour available in the United States. The impact is evident for all to taste. The pastas develop a beautiful al dente texture, packing substantially more flavor than store bought alternatives. Popular pasta options include tagliatelle, bucatini, and gnocchi stuffed with ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. Gluten-free and whole wheat options are often available for those with dietary restrictions or specific taste preferences.

Each pasta is crafted according to rich Italian tradition. Chef Sankofa mastered this tradition during his instruction at the Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Piemonte, Italy. Once complete, pastas are portioned and immediately frozen. Herein lies the true magic of ESO – restaurant quality Italian delicacies are made available straight from your freezer. When ready to indulge, simply pull some pasta out of the freezer and follow the simple instructions provided with every purchase.

No self-respecting pasta shop would be complete without a stable of dishes highlighting cheese. ESO is an absolute must visit for cheese lovers. The creamy sauces like Cacio E Pepe are a delight of rich full-bodied flavors. The crown jewel of cheesy goodness comes in the form of the ultimate comfort food – mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is available in a frozen tray and after thirty minutes in the oven is ready to overwhelm your senses. There may not be words in the English language to accurately convey just how fantastic ESO’s mac and cheese tastes. One cannot help but smile after each bite, savoring the nuances of flavor. The dish pairs freshly made ridged lumache (larger shells) with cheddar, mozzarella, and 24-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. The combination is a triumph with caramelized cheese, an expertly seasoned peppery sauce, and gooey decadence the primary notes. The rectangular metal tray is an ideal vessel for this meal. It creates a masterpiece of textures with gourmet, ever so slightly burnt, grilled cheese in the corners, saucier stringier bites in the center, and more al dente doughier pasta on the bottom. The mac and cheese is undoubtedly a crowd pleaser that must be experienced.

Photo by Strix Media

ESO’s products extend well beyond pasta and sauces. The store markets a variety of imported goods directly from Italy such as flour and oils. For those with a sweeter predilection, a dessert line is available dubbed “Babushkas Pies.” Freshly made and faithfully recreated Italian staples like Panna cotta and tiramisu are underpinned by choice ingredients. Chef AJ also molds a variety of unique pizzas. Convenience and flavor coexist at ESO in droves. All their products sport beautiful packaging; wrapping paper is the only thing missing from a surefire hit gift. Though ESO is a relative newcomer, having been born out of the pandemic, it has already established itself as more than worth a visit.

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