Monday, 23 March 2015

Make it Monday: Pasta recipies

I was never a fan of pasta, wouldn't touch it.  That was until a couple of years ago when the meal hubby was having smelt soo good that I tried a bit and soon polished off the rest that was left in the kitchen.

The boys go through fads, currently Noah loves pasta (depending on what phase the moon is in and whether he has woken up on the correct side of bed) and Ben hates it.... that was until we were asked to try Tesco Finest pasta.  I'm not sure it was the flavour that converted the boys or the really cool shapes it comes in.

To me pasta is pasta, and when on a budget you eat as cheaply as possibly so we always go for the 30p value packs, Tesco finest comes in at £1.70 a pack, after this trial tho the taste is completely different and I am very tempted to make the switch permanently.

Tesco take a traditional pasta recipe, barely changed in decades passed down from Grandfaher and founder of the company to Grandson Giuseppe Di Martino.  This recipe uses 100 per cent Italian durum wheat semolina to give a very high (14g) protein content and keeps it al dente for longer during the cooking process.

Many types of pasta are dried in 3 hours but Tesco finest* pasta is left to dry for 30 hours which brings out the wheat’s amazing flavour.

Another big difference I noticed between value pasta and the finest* range is the way the sauce 'sticks' to it.  Normally the tubes of pasta are smooth and silky in appearance whereas finest* pasta has a coarser finish enabling the sauce to cling to it when cooked. Tesco explained that the reason for this is that many pasta makers have changed their ‘die’ (the pasta shaper) to Teflon whereas the Di Martino family continues to use bronze ‘dies’ that scratch the pasta making it rough and perfect for cooking.

Once we found the pasta, strangely hidden away on a top shelf with specialist ranges rather then alongside all the other varieties, we purchased a bag of Fusilli Lunghi and one of Gigli and yes, I will admit it was because of their shapes - that and who cannot resist a food that sounds happy :)

Spaghetti Bolognaise

When I told the boys it was spaghetti bolognaise for their their faces fell - "eurgh, can't I have a sandwich?!" then I showed them the long spirly strands of fusilli lunghi pasta.  They soon jumped at the chance to have it for tea.  It's spiral shape almost makes it easier to wrap it around the fork then the normal straight spaghetti.  I also think it's thicker then the cheaper variety so you need less off it to make the bowl, and tummies, full.  

My bolognaise recipe is nothing fancy, well I wouldn't want to ruin the taste of the pasta.  Simply fry off some mince then add a jar of sauce, stir through.  Depending on what I have in I may add fresh tomatoes if they need eating up or put sweetcorn in it to bulk it out.  And if course, we always top it off with some grated cheese.


Giggly smoked sausage Carbonara bake

My cabonara is also rather boring I'm afraid.  First I cooked up the gigli pasta which has a beautiful flower (lily) trumpet shape, although it expands in cooking and opens out a little it doesn't loose it's unique shape. This means once drained and a jar of sauce is stirred through the sauce sinks into the middles,   A new favourite in this house is to use smoked sausage and grated cheese in it then popped into the oven.  You may be wondering what the crumby bits are.... well we bought a lasagna kit the other week and there was a sachet of bacon crumble in it.  I forgot to use it at the time so cooked it on top and it gave a nice crispiness to the dish.

The pasta itself again tasted so nice, not watery like the value ones do.


Plain Pasta

Yes that's right - plain pasta.  Ben loves this range so much he asked for "just the spirally pasta" for tea the other night.  No sauce, no cheese.  And he ate the lot.  That's when I discovered another difference between the finest* range and value products - the finest* ones do not stick together.  Due to their thickness and shape they separate really easily in the pan.

Would I buy again? Oh yes, it may be a lot more expensive then value but the taste, and the fact the kids ASK for it now is always a reason to buy again.

You can see the full range of Tesco Finest* dried Pasta here.

Disclaimer: I received discount vouchers from the Tesco Orchard Programme to spend on a selection of Tesco finest* pasta products so we could try them and tell you all about it. As always the information, ideas and opinions remain my own (or my family's).  #trieditfree

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