I've already reviewed Giovanni Rana's Fresh Filled Pasta Creations ready meals (here), which are great as an instant meal when you're in a rush (they were perfect when I got home tired and hungry after long parents' evenings at school last term), so I was really excited when I was asked if I'd like to try out their new range of fresh pasta sauces and unfilled pasta.
The new sauces comes in four varieties – creamy Parmigiano Reggiano (developed specifically to accompany filled pasta), Porcini Mushroom, Genovese Basil Pesto and Italian Bolognese. The new unfilled pasta comes as Spaghetti, Tagliatelle, Penne and Fusilli. We received a packet of fusilli and all of the sauces except the pesto one to try out.
Giovanni Rana say : “We're really excited and passionate about the launch of these new products. This is the first time that Giovanni Rana – a true innovator of pasta – has created a range of deliciously different sauces that complement our new line of fresh unfilled pasta as well as our existing range of tortellini. In terms of a taste experience, these new offerings are designed to go together for a complete authentic Italian meal.”
The fresh pasta, made using specially selected flour and a minimum of 20% fresh eggs, has a special rough texture (called sfogliagrezza), specifically designed to make it better for picking up more sauce. Aha, they're clever people, thos Italians, when it comes to making the perfect pasta ! The bag of fusilli only contains 250g, enough for 3 servings, and takes 4 minutes to cook, so I added in some mini pasta shapes to make sure there was enough for our family of five and that they'd cook in time. My only very slight criticism of the packaging is that it doesn't say if it needs refrigerating or not.
Each 250g pot of sauce is designed for two people, so I used two pots which gave us absolutely loads. It can either be heated in the microwave or on the hob - I chose the latter. We started off with the Porcini Mushroom sauce, which is lovely and creamy with a really pronounced mushroom flavour. It would be perfect as it is but I decided to add some lardons (bacon pieces), because Madhouse Daddy Mike is a total carnivore and always says there's something lacking if there's no meat in his meal ! The blurb on the pot does actually say that it can also be used as a sauce with roast meat or on toast.
A quick shake or two of parmesan and lunch is ready. It's totally delicious, extremely thick and creamy and creates a really tasty, filling meal in next to no time. It was very salty but that probably came from the bacon pieces that I added. A 100g serving of sauce contains 167 calories, which I found quite reasonable given how rich and creamy it is.
We've tried the Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano sauces too, which also met with approval from the whole family and tasting just like the real thing that you'd get in a posh Italian restaurant rather than something bought in a supermarket. The only thing I didn't like was the foil lid which is extremely sharp on the edges and could easily cut your finger if you're not careful.
Star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : sauces £1.98, pasta from 98p
for more information : http://www.giovannirana.co.uk/
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