“ Typ: Pasta / Brand: Ainsley Harriott „
Once again, dinner at work, armed only with a microwave and a kettle, I was intending to go for the culinary low of the pot noodle the other day, and headed for the 'convenience' (or lazy food) aisle of Tesco. Lurking in the the middle of various packet noodles and soups I came across Ainsley Harriot staring at me. Ainsley Harriot? What's he doing making instant pastas? He's a chef! Well maybe, this was an exceptional instant pasta then? Intrigued, thought I'd give it a go.
At £1.06 it's relatively expensive for this type of thing, but it was a large pot so maybe this was why. The pot looks like one of those baby bowls with the handles on the side, and has Ainsley sporting a big cheesy grin on the front. It claims the 'Spicy Tomato Pasta' is less than 3% fat and quotes "A gorgeously tasty meal in minutes - just add water and enjoy."
Opening the pot there was a tiny amount of dust and minature fusilli shaped pasta in the bottom, obviously this will rehydrate with the water but really, this is a lot of water for a small amount of 'stuff'!
I poured the boiling water to the fill level as stated and waited my five long minutes. I discovered then that the baby style pot was actually a good design as I could pick it up by the little handles with out touching the hot sides of the pot. The pasta has puffed up and was cooked perfectly. However, this was very much pasta soup rather than pasta on sauce, and although the pasta probably needed that much water to cook, the amount of liquid I was left with was too much. This stuff is definitely a spoon job and not a fork job!
The pasta was good, the sauce (or soup) was spicy, but had a very artificial tomato taste. Admittedly it was much better than a flavour of most of these instant snacks, but considering the size of the pot, it didn't give me as much food as I was expecting and for that reason I think I'd still go for a pot noodle due to it being a lot more filling.
Also 5 minutes it quite a long time. I would not use this product at home where I had a hob, as I could cook myself a proper pasta dish in the same amount of time as Mr. 'Ready Steady Cook' Harriot well knows. I always liked him as a TV chef and am a little bit disappointed he's cashed in like this. The whole idea of the show that made him famous is that you don't need lots of time to cook a proper meal, and endorsing these instant snacks seems to go against that.
Having said that, when all you have is a kettle they are useful for a quick snack at work. The healthy claim of less than 3% fat may be so but these certainly aren't guilt free. Each pot contains 369 calories, and 2.1g fat. Not bad I suppose for a meal, but I found the small amount of pasta meant this didn't fill me up and I had something else with it. I'm amazed how such a large amount of calories can have fitted into such a small amount of food, which is largely water!
Overall, a tasty light snack that's convenient if all you have is a kettle, but I wouldn't eat it otherwise.