Testing Pastas

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

I was recently sent an assortment of different pastas to  try out and so we had a pasta day in our house where I cooked up a few old favourites and a few new favourites.

One of the pastas I was sent was a fabulous filled Gluten Free Tortelloni. A Tomato and Mozzarella Tortelloni.  As soon as I saw it I thought of this delicious salad that I make from time to time.

I love Caesar salad and I love pasta. It made perfect sense to me to combine the two of them.

This is a very hearty salad, but makes for a delicious light supper. It is quick and easy to throw together.

Along with the Tortelloni I add some blanched broccoli and chopped tomatoes, red onions, baby gems, some croutons and bacon bits and a good Caesar Salad Dressing.  This is gorgeous.

*Caesar Tortelloni Salad*
Serves 4

A delightfully quick and deliciously different Caesar Salad! 

1 package of refrigerated cheese filled tortellini (about half a pound in weight)
2 baby gem lettuces
a handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 of a small red onion, peeled and chopped finely
1/2 a small bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
to finish:
crisp garlic croutons
bacon bits
grated and shaved Parmesan cheese
your favourite Caesar Salad Dressing (I like Newman's own)
coarsely ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil.   Drop in the tortelloni and broccoli florets.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until done, as directed on the package.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain again.  (I spread it out on a large baking sheet which I have lined with a clean tea towel.
Separate your baby gems into individual leaves, cutting any larger ones in half if necessary.  Wash and dry.  Place them into a large salad bowl.   Top with the red onion, cherry tomatoes and broccoli.  Sprinkle on the garlic croutons, bacon bits and cheese.   Toss with your favourite Caesar Salad dressing and then  grind some pepper over top.  Serve immediately.  You may pass extra croutons and cheese if you wish.  It makes a lovely light lunch!  For a heartier meal add strips of grilled chicken or beef.

Note - when using a Gluten Free Tortelloni take care to note that it does NOT need to be cooked as long as regular Tortelloni.  You run the risk of it turning to mush.  Cook only for 45 to 60 seconds. They do tend to be a bit more fragile than regular tortelloni.

Its really nice to know that people who are glucose intolerant are now able to enjoy a lot more options when it comes to eating.

  Evexia Gluten Free Tomato and Mozzarella Tortelloni are available in two flavours, Tomato and Mozzarella as well as Spinach and Ricotta.

I was also sent some of the Evexia Gluten Free Chickpea Fusilli. This has a lovely nutty flavour, and is packed with fibre and protein.  They also have a penne pasta

The Evexia range is dedicated to optimising nutritional well being. Launched late last year, its tortellini has already won gold at the Free From Food Awards 2017! The range is all suitable for coeliacs, those following a low FODMAP diet and vegetarians. The fusilli and penne are also suitable for vegans. It’s available in Sainsbury’s, Asda, Wholefoods and Ocado, with the price starting from £2.

I used the fusilli to make another favourite of ours. (Well mine, really as you know Todd is not fond at all of pasta although I do get him to eat it every now and again.)

This is a recipe that is very quick to throw together (and even quicker using the fresh pasta fusilli.)

I have added bacon to the dish because we like bacon and it goes very well with peas and cheese!

But if you wanted to keep it totally vegetarian, you could just leave out the bacon altogether and maybe add another vegetable.  There is plenty of protein in these fabulously tasty chick pea fusilli anyways!

*Fusilli and Peas, with Bacon and Cheese*
Serves 4 to 6
(Depending on appetites) 

A basic stove top mac and cheese filled with lovely bits of crisp bacon and sweet English petit pois! 

340g of uncooked fusilli (3 cups)
450ml of milk (2 cups)
1 TBS butter
2 TBS plain flour
240g of grated cheese mix (2 cups)
(mine was a mix of strong cheddar, gouda, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses)
120g of red leicester cheese, grated (1 cup)
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
8 slices of lean streaky bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped coarsely
a mug of frozen petit poits, unthawed

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook over medium heat for about a minute before whisking in the milk.  Cook, whisking constantly, until it bubbles and begins to thicken.   Whisk in all of the cheese, whisking until it is melted.   Season to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Set aside and keep warm. 

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the frozen peas during the last minute.   Drain well and then add to the sauce along with the chopped bacon, tossing to mix all together well.  Serve immediately.

Note - Using the refrigerated chick pea fusilli, means that your pasta will be cooked in 3 minutes maximum of time, so do bear that in mind!

I was also sent a selection of the new Dell' Ugo latest Pasta Plus Range. The Pasta Plus range consists of five gorgeous fresh, filled pastas all with a delicious accompanying butter. The reason behind adding the butter is to create the perfect meal all in one without having to pick up any extra ingredients. I was sent a pack of the Goats' Cheese & Beetroot with Mint Butter and the Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli with Sage Butter. 

The Dell' Ugo Goats' Cheese & Beetroot Fiorelli with Mint Butter is a free range egg pasta filled with goats'cheese and beetroot which comes with a small pot of mint butter to toss with cooked pasta.  This specially infused mint butter has been developed to go deliciously with this filled pasta.

I really enjoyed this one.  It is filled with a mix of goat's cheese, mascaropone cheese, beetroot and beetroot relish.  No surprise here as I adore beetroot.  The mint butter went beautifully.  I did add a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese as suggested and a generous grinding of black pepper.

The Dell'Ugo Ricotta and Spinach Ravioli with Sage Butter, contains more of the free range egg pasta, filled with leaf spinach and ricotta cheese, and then a delicious herb infused butter made especially to go with the spinach and ricotta.

Luxurious and silky, this was also a perfect combination of flavours.  I again, topped it with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a hefty grinding of black pepper.  I also quite enjoyed this one, but of the two my favourite was the one with the beetroot. 

The same love and care goes into every pack of Dell'Ugo pasta made today, just as it did when Luigi Ugo sold his first packet back in 1929. This new range of fresh pasta has been uniquely developed by Expert Chefs using British free range eggs and the finest ingredients from around the world. ​ The butter used is  freshly churned Somerset milk. Just melt on and enjoy.

Other options available are an Asparagus and Mozarella Fiorelli with a Lemon Butter, and a Butternut and Squash Ravioli with a Garlic and Herb Butter.  All can be purchased at Waitrose/Ocado for approximately £3.99.

If I had any criticism of these at all it would be that the package is purpoted to serve two people, but only fed a greedy me.  😛

Many thanks to both Evexia and Dell'Ugo for sending me these pastas to try out!

Note - I was sent the pastas free of charge for the purpose of review, but was not required to write a positive review in return. Any and all opinions are my own.

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