“ Brand: Marks & Spencer / Pasta „
INTRODUCTION I'm not usually one for pasta; for me it's a bit plain and I like a bit of spice in my food. However, in yet another of my lazy moods mooching around the M&S food hall, I came across this decent looking package. Why not I thought; I can always review it for a laugh. PACKAGING AND RECYCLING The ravioli comes wrapped in a plastic sleeve. Enclosed in this is a cardboard insert which partially covers a brown cardboard tray holding the ravioli squares. This all appears to be recyclable, although the label on the insert containing this information is so small it's almost impossible to make out the lettering on it. PRICE The pack was £2.79 at my local M&S in Guildford town centre. INGREDIENTS Free range egg pasta makes just over half of the meal. Ricotta cheese is next at 20%, with goats cheese at 7%. There is also to a lesser degree extra virgin olive oil, breadcrumbs, sun dried tomatoes, potato flakes rice flour and garlic. To me this sounds like an awful lot of bitty ingredients added to make the taste just so, and I'm not a huge fan of this approach as it seems to suggest a degree of artificiality, then again who am I kidding, this is a ready meal. M&S so say that there are no artificial flavourings, colours or sweeteners so this is a relatively minor quibble. The food weights 250g in all. And it's vegetarian. ALLERGY INFORMATION Cow's milk, eggs, wheat and gluten are contained within. In addition, it's been made in a factory which uses nut ingredients. NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION A summary of the most important statistics per ½ pack: Energy kcal - 365 Protein - 14.1g Carbohydrate 43.6g Of which sugars - 3.5g Fat - 14.9g Of which saturates - 5.6g Fibre - 4.6g Salt - 1.5g COOKING From chilled, you boil it for 5 minutes. This increases to 6 minutes when cooked from frozen. I added a little salt and olive oil to keep the ravioli from sticking. APPEARANCE The ravioli is in squares of just over 3cm, with serrated edges all around; the filling bulges out on top in a semi circle. The colour is olive green. Cut in half after cooking, dark yellow of ricotta & goats cheese mix, with small flecks of sun dried tomato. SMELL Unsurprisingly, in a uncooked state there is hardly any smell at all, save for an extremely mild wheaty aroma. After cooking, cutting one of them in half reveals a strong, pleasant smell of ricotta cheese inside. TASTE The pasta is firm and the cheese very tasty; it is obviously a decent quality chevre. The whole thing is a little dry, which lends itself to having an accompanying sauce; having said that, it wasn't an unpleasantly dry sensation. There is a strong taste of ricotta, with the goat's cheese less prevalent but occasionally breaking through with a pleasing sharpness and slight sourness, can taste the little bits of tomato which add a tomatoey tang. The thickness and proportion of pasta seems spot on, as you bite into it, get a pleasant taste and then the filling hits your pallette and mixes in with it. CONCLUSION There are a lot of filled pasta dishes on the market, and I can't say this particularly stood out, although it did come across as a slight cut above the rest in terms of taste and quality. Basically, it actually tasted of something, of distinct tastes of the various ingredients as opposed to a generic whizzed-up mush. This was great on own but I ate it with garlic bread and rocket pesto, which enhanced the taste in my opinion. I would recommend this, with the usual M&S caveat of it's expensive - but, as usual, you get what you pay for.