Monday, 7 June 2010

How to Solve a Problem Like Giovanni Rana.

I have never been a fan of prepackaged stuffed pasta.
I love fresh tortellini and ravioli, and its high on my list to accomplish making my own, but I can't help but finishing a plate of pre filled and packaged pasta with a crushing sense of anti climax.

And post-feed anti climax, along with wasting food, skipping breakfast, fast food, bad grammar and mispronouncing 'specific' is one of my greatest pet hates. (Yes, the list grows.)

I find it so hard to get right. The Italians recommend 'keeping it simple' with butter and oil. With fresh ravioli, I can see the appeal of this, but with anything from a packet I find it a little bland and tasteless, my mind wandering across and away from the plate.
Conversely, if I make a sauce (Generally a Ratatouille style tomato creation) then the pasta itself is lost, the filling utterly unrecognisable. They are, generally, little more than a suspiciously coloured sludge.

On Friday, whilst in London, I found myself face to face with a promoter handing out free packets of Giovanni Rana Pasta. I'm the kinda lady that will take anything thats free, on principle. Its what student life does to you. So I was filled with great excitement to recieve not just a tester, but an entire pack to take home with me.

I decided to take the opportunity to have an experiment and try and create a way of serving the troublesome tortellini that didn't leave a sour (yet oh so bland) taste in my mouth.

And so...

I served the Ricotta and Spinach Tortelloni (apparently) on a bed of mashed butternut squash, seasoned with pepper. I don't add butter as I like my squash to taste absolutely light and fresh. I then placed a thin layer of fresh spinach over the mash. I briefly boiled the tortelloni with shredded spinach and tossed it together before placing on the plate.
Finally, I sprinkled with powdered garlic and drizzled with chili oil. (Chili oil goes beautifully with both pasta and butternut squash.)
The heat from the pasta above it and the squash below slightly wilted the layer of fresh spinach sandwiched in the middle.

I have to say this recipe was kind of win. It tasted super fresh and light and was delicate enough to not overwhelm the pasta, which added a bit of substance to the vegetables. Next time, I'll try it with my own, home made tortellini and the world will be my oyster.


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