“ Brand: New Covent Garden / Type: Other Ready Meals „
I generally prefer to eat home made food wherever possible, as it is, in my opinion, just nicer apart from anything else and generally cheaper too. One thing I sometimes make an exception for is soup, and Covent Garden soup in my opinion is generally just as nice as soup you would make yourself.
When I saw that the company were now making risotto I was interested in trying it - at £1.99 for 500g it seemed good value - I love risotto but sometimes making it from scratch and standing stirring it for 20 mins over a hot stove does not appeal! Also at 220 calories for half a tub, it was looking like a good contender for lunch at work, seeing as, like its sister soup the Risotto is a "heat and serve" affair. It can be cooked on the hob or in the Microwave.
I decided to have the risotto for lunch at home one day, as I was not in the mood for a sandwich. A quick glance at the ingredients showed me that there was nothing in them that I wouldn't expect in a risotto I made myself, for the interested ingredients below:
Water, risotto rice (16%), mushrooms (8%), onions, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (2%), olive oil, double cream, salt, dried wild mushrooms, garlic purée, parsley, cracked black pepper, nutmeg
That seems to be a low percentage of rice, but having made my own I know that risotto rice does swell quite a lot. Following the instructions I heated the risotto for 5 mins and left to stand.
First impressions were good, it smelled really mushroomy. I did think that it was a bit runnier than I would have liked on serving up, but there were a fair few chunks of mushroom in the dish and it looked very appetising. It was runnier that my home made rissotto a la Jamie Oliver, but certainly not soup like!
As for the taste; the mushrooms were quite "meaty" and not unpleasant at all - they certainly don't taste dried. You can taste that undertone of Parmesan - though I was tempted to add some more freshly grated of my own I have to admit. The mushroom flavour was strong, but not unpleasantly so, and the rice was cooked to perfection - a tiny bit al dente and certainly not too mushy. The sauce was thick and tasty, albeit a little too liquid for me, as already mentioned.
I did find, for my own taste, that this risotto was a bit too salty; there's 0.8g for 100g of product here, which strikes me as quite high - if you ate half the tub as per their "typical serving" that's 2g of salt. It's a shame as the ingredients didn't really need that much salt - also I don't know if that figure includes the salt but parmesan is quite a salty cheese so for me, personally, they could have held on the salt.
Whilst eating it I could definitely notice the parsley and a pleasing amount of black pepper. I did find that there was a bit of an after-taste - I'm guessing due to the garlic puree, but overall I did find the risotto quite filling and satisfying. I ate a little more than half a tub as my three year old didn't find it as alluring as me and promptly demanded "bob the builder pasta"! I think you would struggle to eat a whole tub of this - in actual fact this is quite filling without being high on calories.
I do think for an adult quick lunch this risotto is perfectly acceptable - it does look a bit grey, but don't be put off by that! It is probably best hob warmed as I feel sure it would be less runny that way. It certainly contains good quality ingredients, as I would expect from Covent Garden. I wish they would lower the salt a little, though maybe my taste buds are not the norm where salt is concerned as it isn't something I add in huge quantities to my own food.
I would definitely eat this again, it isn't quite as nice as my own risotto, if I say it myself - but it certainly is a convenient and good value addition to the Covent Garden range!
(originally on ciao and edited for dooyoo)