“ Brand: Asda / Type: Pasta Bake Sauce „
It was when I was doing a recent online shop at www.asda.com that I noticed a range of jars of 'Pasta Bake' from the Asda own-branded range. I decided to try out a couple of them, and paid £1.18 per jar.
When they were delivered with the rest of my Asda groceries I was quite impressed with the size of the jar and the appearance of the sauces within. I thought that the appearance of one of the sauces in particular looked to be quite creamy and very thick and I decided there and then that this would be our supper that evening... the appearance of the sauce was such that it looked to me to be quite delicious and I was very keen to try it out as a result.
The full name of the product in question is the 'Asda Creamy Tomato and Herb Pasta Bake' and the jar is a very generous 500g in size. The jar itself is made of glass which is widely recycled. There is a screw-off lid on the top of the jar which is fairly easy to remove in comparison to similar products that I buy regularly.
The sauce itself is very thick-looking as I said and is a sort of creamy orange colour, rather than being a bright red coloured sauce which is what I was expecting when I ordered this product online. There are flecks of herbs throughout the sauce which are not difficult to notice. There is also a few very small pieces of tomato in the sauce but these are very small and I only found one or two in my plateful.
The pasta bake is very easy to prepare. All you have to do is measure out the correct amount of dried pasta (I decided to use some pasta shells) and place it in an ovenproof dish. Then you pour the jar of pasta bake sauce over the top of the pasta and mix it in thoroughly with a spoon. You then fill the empty jar with cold water until it is about two thirds full and add this to the mixture in the dish. Stirring the pasta well ensures that it is completely covered with sauce and the dish can be popped into a hot oven. How simple is that!?
After about twenty minutes I checked the pasta and thought it was still quite hard so I replaced the dish into the oven for a further ten minutes. After this time, I still thought the pasta was quite hard and so returned the dish to the oven for a further ten minutes. Eventually, I thought the pasta was a lot softer, and I was happy to carry out the rest of the instructions on the item's packaging which were as easy to follow and carry out as the initial preparation. All I had to do was grate some cheddar cheese and sprinkle this on top of the pasta and return it to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes or until the pasta was thoroughly cooked. I found that it took a good thirty minutes after the cheese had been added for the pasta to be cooked thoroughly in my oven.
The smells coming from the oven, and indeed the kitchen whilst I was cooking this pasta bake were simply delicious and extremely mouth-watering.. So much so, that I had to scold my husband from attempting to steal some of the pasta from the oven before it was properly cooked! The mouth-watering aroma of tomato and herb was rather difficult to resist, I must admit.
When it came to serving up the Asda Pasta Bake, I was not disappointed with it's appearance. I thought the sauce looked lovely and thick, and the pleasant colour and appearance of the sauce had not diminished since it had been cooked... in actual fact the addition of the melted cheese and the soft pasta shells looked extremely appetising and I was extremely impressed.
The taste of the Pasta Bake didn't disappoint either, and both my husband and myself thoroughly enjoyed our platefuls. However, I found that the creamy tomato flavour was surprisingly rich, and I was pleased that I had made some garlic bread to accompany the dish, otherwise, I question whether the tomato sauce would have become slightly sickly. The bread proved to be a perfect accompaniment however, and was ideal for mopping up some of the delicious sauce that enveloped the pasta.
I found it difficult to pick out the individual tastes of the herbs, but this is merely an observation, not a criticism. Certainly, I found the flavour from the herbs was perfectly balanced and not overly-aromatic or too strong to take anything from the creamy tomato flavour.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Asda Tomato Pasta Bake and have made it twice more since I initially bought it. I find it is simple to prepare and tastes quite delicious and I think it is quite a hearty, satisfying meal without much fuss or effort. I think also that the price paid for the jar of Pasta Bake offers reasonable value and the jar feeds myself and my husband sufficiently.
The nutritional information on the product's packaging informs me that 100g of the pasta bake will provide 150kcal and 12.1g of fat. I can see also that the product is suitable for a vegetarian diet.
There is a range of jars of Asda Pasta Bake available to buy in Asda supermarkets or at www.asda.com, where the normal price for the 500g jar is £1.18.
** My Tip **
A little tip I have to pass on is that I have found it cuts down on the oven cooking time required if you sort of 'half-cook' the pasta beforehand. The first time that I made this Pasta Bake for my husband and I, it took over and hour to get the pasta cooked sufficiently and so the next time I decided to make the dish, I decided to try boiling the pasta beforehand before adding the sauce and other ingredients... I wouldn't completely cook the pasta as if I were about to serve it, but if it is just sort of 'half-cooked' to remove some of the brittleness then I find this really cuts down on the cooking time.