Many Italians don't make their own pasta from scratch either. Nonni (grandmas) of the past would spend hours, lovingly slaving over the kitchen table, rolling and cutting fresh pasta, but nowadays it is an almost forgotten art. My Italian mother-in-law buys the homemade pasta from the corner shop that sells fresh pasta made following the traditional local recipes.
We eat lots of pasta, but I confess, I don't make my own pasta from scratch either. I cook both dried and fresh varieties, and there are some superior brands that I cannot compete with anyway (I did make my own batches of pasta on a few occasions, it was not bad, but not better than the branded varieties).
Giovanni Rana is a well known brand of pasta, which is much loved beyond Italy. It has recently expanded their Simply Italian range and has also launched a new Italian Indulgence range. Their new recipes would satisfy the most discerning pasta gourmand.
A bit of background information:
"For over 50 years, Giovanni Rana has been recognised as a symbol of good taste and quality products, creating fresh pasta for people to enjoy at home since 1962.
Giovanni’s own culinary journey began as a young boy whilst working in his family’s bakery, taking care of the production and the distribution of bread. With the gradual movement of women into the workplace in the late 50s, however, Giovanni recognised that women increasingly had little time to make fresh pasta at home. Sensing an opportunity, the then baker began crafting hand-made pasta in his own kitchen, using the very best ingredients to create a diverse variety of flavours. With his skill, technique and “obsession” for quality, he perfectly replicated homemade Italian pasta.
His products quickly became “Italy’s Most Loved” and today Giovanni Rana is a trusted source of delicious, classic Italian dishes, which can be easily prepared in the comfort of the home kitchen".
I have been buying Giovanni Rana's pasta before, and was pleased to see some new varieties added to his range.
Have you tried Giovanni Rana's Italian Indulgence Gorgonzola & Crunchy Mellow Walnut Ravioli? A beautiful pasta for cheese lovers. Gorgonzola works really well with walnuts, and the combination of flavours and textures is totally first-rate.
I made a simple mushrooms sauce for this pasta, with a few quickly fried mushrooms, a dollop of cream and a bit of grated parmesan. A quick and delicious midweek dinner is guaranteed.
Giovanni Rana Simply Italian tortelloni/Italian cured ham & cheese is one of six recipes in Simply Italian range. It is a fresh egg pasta filled with three cheeses - ricotta, mozzarella and mascarpone and Italian cured ham, all much loved and pried Italian flavours.
You can eat it with just a drizzle of olive oil or some melted butter, with parmesan or grana grated on top of pasta.
Or turn a simple pasta dish into something more spectacular. I have an old Italian recipe magazine which featured a stunning pumpkin filled with pasta and vegetables. I didn't follow the recipe but used the idea of the pumpkin container.
First you need to cook the pumpkin. Cut the top off, and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the inside of the pumpkin with the olive oil and season. Wrap it in foil and place in the oven preheated to 180C for about half an hour. Take the pumpkin out, unwrap and let it cool before carefully scooping the pumpkin flesh, and chopping it into cubes.
Cook the pasta in the salted boiling water, drain and set aside.
Fry a couple of finely sliced garlic cloves in the olive oil, add a handful of raisins, a bit of butter, a dash of marsala. Add the cubed pumpkin and give it a toss in the garlic and raisin mix. Add the pasta, mix well and put all the mixture in the pumpkin.
Place the pumpkin in the oven for another 5-7 minutes.
Serve with shavings of parmesan.
Both Italian Indulgence and Simply Italian ranges are available from major supermarkets at £2.49 and £1.99 respectively.
Go on, bring a taste of Italy to your own table! Buon Appetito!
Disclosure: I received two packs of new pasta for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are mine.