When I add my exotic recipes to the country-by-country globecooking index, I'm sometimes not sure where to put them. Kung Pao Chicken may sound Chinese but it's an American invention, I'm sure the only Greek thing about Mushrooms à la Grecque is the name because I've only ever seen them in France and it's well known that Chicken Tikka Massala will never be found on a menu in India as it was created in Indian restuarants in the UK with the British palate in mind. Well, I have another dual-nationality food to present to you - the new limited edition Bertollini pasta, created by Italian celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo and Bertolli with Butter, with a new shape designed especially for Britons’ love of pasta and inspired by their favourite vegetables !
Pasta is the UK’s go-to mid-week meal, with more than two thirds of Brits (67%) enjoying it at least once a week, but when it comes to choosing the right pasta shape for a certain pasta dish, almost half of Brits (43%) simply resort to their default pasta shape or guess which shape might work, with only 13% knowing which pasta shape is best for the pasta dish they are cooking. Furthermore, a staggering three quarters (74%) frequently defer to jarred sauces to pour over their pasta, rather than preparing something themselves.
Italian chef, restaurateur and mentor to Jamie Oliver, Gennaro Contaldo, comments: “It’s time home cooks around the UK drop the jar of sauce! With just a few simple ingredients, it’s easy to create beautiful pasta dishes that will transport your dinner table from the pavements of Plymouth straight to the olive groves of Tuscany. This shape has been designed especially for that reason. It’s marvellous to see a food that represents some of the loveliest elements of both nations’ heritage: the traditional British garden and the Italian passion for pasta.”.
Showing how quick and simple it is to make a homemade pasta sauce, I made a creamy bacon and onion sauce using the meagre contents of the fridge (there was hardly anything left as we were winding it down for going on holiday !). I fried up some bacon lardons, along with a chopped onion, added a carton of light crème fraîche and threw in the remaining halved cherry tomatoes. The result was very similar to a carbonara and was very tasty.
On to the pasta - each box contains 250g and at first glance, it looks like there isn't much in the pack, but the conical shapes are slotted into one another so you need to take them all apart before adding them to the pan, As it is fresh pasta that needs to be kept in the fridge, it is very quick to prepare, needing just three minutes in boiling water (unless you choose to bake it, in a twist on cannelloni, for example).
It comes in three flavours - spinach, beetroot and egg - and three colours - green, red and "white" - so you could even get inventive and recreate an Italian flag on your plate !
I chose to serve the sauce on top of the pasta and mix it all up before eating, but you could also stuff the cooked pasta with the sauce for a more visually appealing dish. The conical shape is great for catching the sauce, making it much easier (and cleaner !) to eat than spaghetti, for example.
The kids were also more than happy to tuck into the remaining pasta topped simply with a knob of Bertolli with Butter and a sprinkle of parmesan. Simplissimo !
Bertollini is handmade by artisan pasta makers Pasta & Pasta and is listed exclusively on Delicatezza (RRP £2.50 per 250g).
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.