“ Brand: Sainsbury's / Type: Pasta „
Since becoming a student I have had to cut back the costs of everything, even simple things like pasta. When I first considered getting the cheapest pasta that I could find I didn't really have much to think about, pasta is pasta, how is this going to taste any different to the premium brands...?
-------------- Instructions -----------------------
On the packet it says to boil in 10 - 12 minutes... so exactly the same as many other brands of pasta! One thing to note is that you should always boil the water before putting the pasta in, which is especially true with this one; if you put the pasta into the water before it's boiling then the pasta becomes soft, as if it's cooked, yet it won't be as the water is not hot enough!
-------------- Quantity --------------------------
They come in packs of 500 grams. For an average person this would be plenty to last a while, but I ignore where it says on the back 'average serving size of 50g' as that would never ever fill me up... having portion sizes of around 200 grams (when I'm not having it with anything else) this bag barely lasts a day!
--------------- Packaging -----------------------
The pasta comes in just well a bag I guess, containing the instructions and nutritional values. It doesn't have any kind of resealable mechanism on it, not even a sticker type thing that the others have. Not really a problem though, just use an elastic band or pour it into a resealable tub.
-------------- Taste / Texture -------------------
At the end of the day, it tastes like pasta, I can't really deny that. I do see some difference with the texture compared to other brands, this is a lot chewier - where other branded pasta seem to expand when cooked and go really tender, the basics' don't expand as much, and instead become chewy.
When I say chewy I don't mean like 'get the steak knife out' or the awkwardness when you're trying to have a conversation and the food in your mouth just doesn't seem to be swallow-able, but it just doesn't melt away in your mouth like other pasta does. I must make clear though that it still tastes perfectly fine and many people probably won't even notice a difference with the texture / chewiness.
-------------- Price ------------------------------
At the moment a 500g bag costs 39p... they used to be even cheaper but unfortunately all of Sainsburys own brand seems to have gone up in price. 39p is good value for money though, at 78p per kg, that's less than half the price of the next cheapest pasta!
--------------- Summary -----------------------
Depending on the individual, some people would be happy with this where as other would not. I am currently still buying basics pasta, yet when I get a bit extra money this will certainly be something I will upgrade on, most probably to the 3Kg bag Sainsburys offer, that way I won't have to go to the shop 3 times a week to stock up!
It may be basic, no seal to seal the packet, a bit chewy etc but once it's in a meal it is not noticeable and your guests would never know the difference. Sometimes I even eat it plain, a bit of salt and still tastes good enough to eat like any other brand.
I buy a number of the Sainsbury's basics products, including the pasta. I love pasta as its a filling, quick and cheap meal to prepare. I have tried all the supermarkets value, medium brand and labelled pasta. I have to say Sainsbury's pasta is ok but not great. Basically you get what you pay for!
For starters, a prenium brand pasta cooks in 10 mins, where as I find the basics pasta takes a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 25 mins. The time is not too bad if you are not in too much of a rush to eat. I also find the texture of the cooked pasta isn't that great. The pasta is rather chewy, which can be compensated with a delicious pasta sauce covering it. Otherwise on its own its would taste a bit rubbery.
Other downsides is the size. It is quite small and requires half a packet to make a reasonably sized meal for two people. Also this is a little trivial, for some people its important, there is only one variety of shape. But all in all thats a bit irrelevant.
Overall, for people on budget's it is brillant product. It certainly helps the food bill being 30p a packet. And jazzed up with pasta sauce and a sprinkling of cheese no one would know the difference.
Sainsbury's supermarkets, as many readers will be aware have their own range of basic, simply presented goods aimed at the budget end of the market, these items are known as the 'Basics' range.
As I have a restricted budget, I am always on the look out for economical ingredients and consequently have tried quite a few of the Basics range of items. Some are better than others, Sainsbury's Basics pasta shapes are definitely one of the winners in my opinion.
As with all Sainsbury's Basics goods, the packaging is very simple, orange and white labelling with no frills. All cooking instructions and nutritional values for the pasta shapes are printed on the reverse of the pack, along with the company's contact information.
The pasta is the dried variety, it is basically a penne type pasta which I find lends itself well to many dishes, a pasta bake for example, or even as a simple accompaniment to other dishes.
The ridged, tubular shape makes it ideal for serving with a sauce. We often eat ours with a home made cheese sauce, or if I'm feeling exceptionally lazy, I just boil the pasta and then stir in a jar of pasta sauce. I have experimented with supermarket budget tomato and herb sauces, which tend to cost in the region of 35p a jar. A truly budget conscious meal when you consider the pasta is only 25p!
**Cooking and Storage Instructions**
The pasta should be cooked in plenty of lightly salted boiling water. Sainsbury's recommend a serving of 50-80g (2-3oz) uncooked weight, per person and cooking for 11-13 minutes. The pasta should be drained and served immediately.
The cooking times Sainsbury's give are for guidance only, obviously the length of cooking time does depend on your personal preference regarding pasta texture. The pasta purists would wish to their pasta 'al dente' which naturally takes less time. My family tend to prefer their pasta a little softer in texture so I generally cook these pasta shapes for around 15 minutes, which I find produces a pasta which still has a little 'bite' to it and is not soggy or mushy. I also usually rinse the cooked pasta with a little boiling water before serving.
Sainsbury's recommend that the pasta be stored in a cool, dry place. I usually transfer mine into an airtight container after opening the packet.
**Ingredients, Warnings and Nutritional Values**
Sainsbury's Basics Pasta shapes contain Durum Wheat Flour.
As the product contains Gluten and Wheat, consumers sensitive to these items should exercise caution.
I won't replicate the full nutritional values here, as a brief guide 100g (uncooked weight) provides the following:- 346 calories, 12.0g Protein, 70.0g Carbohydrate, 2g fat, 4g fibre.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
This product represents real value for money. The pasta shapes are easy to cook, versatile and very cheap! What else can be bought for 25p nowadays that will provide 6+ adult sized portions?
I must admit that I cannot justify spending £1 or more on a branded dried pasta when Sainsbury's are offering this version for such a low price! I cannot say that it is as good as fresh pasta, but in my opinion, it is just as good as the more expensive branded dried pastas on the market.
I have served this pasta to adults and children alike, it has always been eaten and enjoyed, which is after all what most of us wish to achieve when we cook a meal!
At the end of the day, to me, pasta is pasta, I consider it a store cupboard staple and at this low price it is certainly helping me stretch my budget.
To conclude I would recommend Sainsbury's Basics Pasta Shapes to others.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 December 2011
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.
As stated in previous reviews, I am a busy full time mum to 2 girls and a housewife with a hungry husband! I am always looking for ways to squeeze the family budget in areas where we wont notice it, to leave extra money for nice things like treats and days out. Sainsbury's Basics Pasta Shapes is one way I can do just that.
At £0.18 (yes, that's right, £0.18!) for a 500g bag, it seems really silly not to stock up on this and use it in my every day pasta cooking. My girls are both pasta monsters and would have it every night of the week if given the choice, and a favourite mid-week tea in our house is a warming pasta bake, so we get through a LOT of pasta.
It cooks just as you would any other dry pasta - boil in salted or unsalted water for about 15 mins, drain and serve with your favourite sauce. I also add it dry to jar pasta bake sauces and whack it in the oven. It doesn't have any funny aftertaste or texture as you might expect with a super-cheap brand. It doesn't taste any different to us than any of the other more expensive dry pastas. In fact both my daughters are quite the brand snobs - will only eat Heinz tomato soup and Heinz spaghetti hoops etc, so if they cant tell the difference then I defy anyone to!
In summary, why would you spend 3 or 4 times the cost of this on a product which tastes and cooks just the same? Just my opinion, but seems a great way to economise without noticing!
When it comes to pasta and rice and all that..... I love the stuff. Getting through so much of it though means that quite often I will go for the cheapest option and usually I find it rather good to be fair.
Up until recently I hadn't been in Sainsburys for a while and so when I was in there the other day with a friend I decided to grab a few cheap bits and bobs and this was something from the 'Basic' range I thought I should try along with a few other bits and bobs.
The pasta comes in a mainly see though easy to pull open bag (with no reseal on it sadly) and on the front of the bag there is a square of white and orange colour and on that were are told that they are Sainsbury's Basics Pasta Shapes, Still Duram Wheat and that the pasta is suitable for Vegetarians and there is an at a glance nutritional chart stated. On the back of the bag other information listed includes ingredients (Duram Wheat Flour only is in this and nothing else), we are told how to cook the pasta (boil for 10-12 minutes), we are given a recipe suggestion, the weight is stated which is 500g, there is a full nutritional chart stated and contact details for Sainsburys are given. Its a cheap looking bag of pasta this though it is informative enough of course.
The Pasta Itself:
Well like I have stated previously this cooks in a saucepan on the hob in about 10-12 minutes. When you pop the pasta into water of course it dry and like a transparent cream colour and this is shaped in tubes with slight lines all over it and sliced at an angle. I find it to cook and sort of double in size personally in about 10 minutes and to not go too soggy and look to ok and to not stick together too badly when cooking it. It takes some shaking when cooked to make sure no hot water is hiding in a tube mind you! We are not told on the pack that this needs rinsing though I do out of habit and its optional to add salt when cooking it of course but usually I do add just a pinch.
Basically this is plain pasta. No frills, its easy to cook and tastes like pasta really. It is bland in the flavour stakes though you can of course add other ingredients to it such as herbs and spices, sauces and whatever to this pasta you like. Its great to make a pasta bake with this being large enough tubes, me I like to dribble a little olive oil over mine and chop up some tomatoes and fresh basil for a cheap and effective side dish or too add tuna and mayo to it as meal!
Not the tastiest of pastas I've ever had but it is ok especially when other ingredients are added to give more flavour to it!
Nutritional Information Per 90g Serving:
Sat Fat: 0.4g
Total Sugars: 3.6g
Only available in Sainsbury's stores costing 32p a bag.
When people think of student dinners, one of the things that usually comes up is Pasta. As a student I do like pasta and so when I saw this bag of Sainsbury's Basics Pasta for only 9p, I made sure I stocked up on it.
--- The Packaging ---
The pasta comes in a plastic bag that is mostly clear through-out so that you can see the pasta. The bag is 23cm x 20cm x 3cm in size and it contains 500g of the pasta shapes. The front and rear labels are printed directly onto the bags and they are in the white and orange colour scheme, just like the rest of the Basics range. Apart from the product information and cooking times, the labels contain very little else that is worth mentioning.
--- The Pasta ---
When taken out of the bag dry, the pasta is formed into a hollow cylinder shape (Penne) that is about 4cm long and 1cm in diameter on average. It has a light golden brown colour to it and is very hard in texture. It says on the pack to cook it for 10-12 minutes, however I like to boil it for a bit longer as I like it a bit softer.
When cooking, it doesn't appear that the pasta contains too much starch as the water doesn't go too cloudy. This is good as it means it doesn't need as much washing with clean water when cooked. The advise that from 90g of dried pasta, you will produce 220g of cooked pasta, which is quite a difference and something that I didn't know before.
Once cooked, the pasta still retains the nice golden brown colour, however it now has a much softer texture compared to when dried. It now takes on a much softer form which makes it edible and very tasty. I don't find that the pasta has too much taste to it as it seems to be slightly tasteless, however it does seem to be very slightly sweet.
I usually add finely chopped vegetables and a tomato sauce to my pasta and I find that it helps to makes a great dish that can be eaten hot or cold.
--- Healthiness ---
If you are preparing for a big sporting event, then everyone always says that pasta is a good meal for the night before as it contains lots of energy and carbohydrates. Per 90g of dried pasta served, this has 311 calories, 1.8g of fat, 0.2g of salt and 3.6g of sugars. Its not too bad, but not great if your on a diet due to the high calorific content. The only stated ingredient on the pack is Durum Wheat Flour. I expect there are some other ingredients as if they're weren't then it surely couldn't be this cheap.
--- The Verdict ---
For 9p a bag, I can't really complain as for the price it provides me with quite a few filling meals. The pasta may not have much taste to it, but this is no problem as it allows be to add my own flavours with mixtures of vegetables, meat and sauces.
I am going to give this pasta 4/5 as it is exceptional value for the price but it is lacking in flavour a little.
Thanks for reading.
This review may also appear on my blog and on Ciao under the same username.