Thursday 14 October 2010

Giovanni Rana Fresh Pasta

As a busy working mum, I often need to get something on the table in minutes that will feed a hungry family but take minimal effort. Frozen food is a rapid option but isn't always nutritious and doesn't always taste all that great. If at all possible, I like to serve up home-cooked meals that have been cooked from scratch or at least with fresh added ingredients. But I admit, sometimes I just haven't got the time or energy.
Last week, feeling absolutely shattered after a hugely busy day at work, I opened the fridge for inspiration and spotted a packet of Giovanni Rana Tagliatelle Rosso fresh pasta.  Bingo ! Fresh pasta takes literally minutes to prepare and often packs in more flavour than the dried varieties. Perfect !

The red (rosso) colouring comes from the added ingredient of  - and I defy you to say this without lapsing into an Italian accent ! -"pomodoro leggermente piccante", or the less-exotic sounding slightly spicy tomatoes. I boiled the kettle and, in the time it took me to get the kids' hands washed and settle them at the table, the pasta was ready. I quickly sliced up a couple of tomatoes and chopped up some leftover chicken from the Sunday roast as the pasta was draining in the colander, served the pasta and dotted a few small knobs of butter over the top to melt, added the chicken and tomatoes and sprinkled some parmesan over the top. Total silence descended on the table which alway shows that the food has been given the thumbs up ! And it had all taken literally minutes. The delicate spicy kick enhances the flavour and adds extra depth without overpowering the taste or setting your mouth on fire.

Fast forward a week (I think i should officially declare Tuesday night to be Giovanni Rana night !) and this time, I was ready to try out the " Blend of Aromatic Cheeses" variety of the new Trattoria range. They are like huge ravioli and the great news is, they cook in just four minutes. The pack is the perfect size for a dinner for two so this time, I tucked the kids off to bed before ripping open the pack. I didn't want to overpower the flavour of the cheesy filling with a potent pesto or tomato-based sauce so, as the kettle boiled, I sliced up some onions, mushrooms and ham and gently fried them in some butter. I didn't even need to time the four minutes because as soon as the pasta is ready, it floats to the top of the pan and looks pale, fluffy and slightly translucent.

The packet only contains about a dozen pieces of pasta so I wasn't sure it would be filling enough but it was the perfect quantity for two meals. The pasta remains perfectly al dente, retaining a slight degree of firmness so that it doesn't go soggy but feeling lovely and soft in your mouth. The cheesy filling is delicate but nice and strong so we could really taste it through the mushrooms, onions and ham.

A quick bit of research online reveals that Giovanni Rana is considered a bit an institution in his native Italy and his products are said to be Italy’s number 1 fresh pasta brand. Giovanni Rana began making fresh pasta in 1961 with the help of ten women in a small shop in San Giovanni Lupatoto, not far from Verona, and to this day, Giovanni Rana continues to be a solely family owned and run business. The newly launched Trattoria range was inspired by Giovanni Rana’s restaurant in Verona , Tre Corone, and does give you the authentic Italian restaurant dining experience in the comfort of your own home, at a fraction of the price and within literally a few minutes.

They may both originally hail from Italy but if I have a choice between frozen pizza or Giovanni Rana, I know exactly what I'll be choosing every time !
star rating : 5/5
The Trattoria range is now available at Asda, Sainsbury’s and selected delis, RRP. £2.10

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