Bonnie: We’re on a pasta kick! Last week we reviewed a tasty whole grain dried pasta, and this week a rich refrigerated one.
This refrigerated Buitoni Reserva pasta is called agnolotti — think ravioli made with one piece of pasta dough folded over the four-cheese filling. It is stuffed with imported Grana Padano, Parmesan, ricotta and fontina cheeses, with a hint of garlic. Because of those four cheeses, this pasta contains lots of fat (17 grams) and sodium (698 milligrams) in a one-cup portion — that’s about a third of what’s government recommended for a day for someone eating about 2000 calories.
This is just to say that when you enjoy it for a meal along with a crisp green salad and a crusty baguette, you should balance what you eat the rest of the day with lower sodium and lower fat choices.
Here are a couple of quick ideas for meals to create using this pasta:
- Toss with extra virgin olive oil and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss with fresh diced tomatoes, shredded basil and some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
- Sauté garlic in olive oil, add chopped parsley and minced basil and toss with the pasta.
Bryan: Every good Italian winemaker has his or her “reserve” collection; a selection of wines crafted from the best grapes each vintage has to offer. A look inside a winery’s reserve cellar is truly a glimpse at what it does best. So, why should a food company be any different? Can it not turn out a line of quality foods, only to be topped by a small selection of premium offerings?
Well, Buitoni (famed Italian pasta-maker since 1827) has just created its own “Riserva” collection, showcasing four of its most delectable stuffed pasta creations yet!
Buitoni is famous for its fresh Italian foods, offering a number of products from sauces, cheeses and cut pastas, to tortelloni, tortellini and ravioli. The Buitoni Riserva collection takes a big step forward to show off the best of what Buitoni can do with stuffed pastas. The new line includes two raviolis: Chicken & Four Cheese and Spicy Beef & Sausage, and two agnolottis: Quattro Formaggi and Wild Mushroom.
We singled out the Quattro Formaggi as our fan-favorite. Hey, who can argue with ricotta, Parmesan, fontina and Grana Padano all blended into one bite? These are by far the most over-stuffed store-bought pastas I’ve ever tried! Each bite literally burst open as I ate; my selected tomato sauce quickly turned into a four-cheese sauce all its own, as each cut agnolotti oozed its innards into my bowl.
Agnolotti (pronounced anneeolottee) are essentially regional ravioli. The dish originally hails from the north of Italy (Piedmont), and the pasta takes its name from its shape: Agnolotti means “priest hats.”
Agnolotti are traditionally made by folding thinly rolled pieces of pasta dough over fillings into a half-moon (or rectangular) shape. Food historians (Don’t laugh, they exist!) note that the difference between agnolotti and ravioli was once more profound. Agnolotti were made in the richer, northern regions of Italy and were therefore stuffed with meats while the poorer regions stuffed their ravioli with cheese, fish and vegetables.
The lines have blurred severely — haven’t all traditions? Modern-day ravioli and agnolotti may each be filled with cheeses, meats or vegetables. The Quattro Formaggio is a profound example of the modern culinary confusion. This amazingly hearty meal pairs the savory flavors of fresh-roasted garlic with a luscious combination of creamy, imported cheeses — all traditional ravioli fillings.
An amazing meal in a box and only 360 calories per serving. Do beware, though; this dish is cheese central with 17 grams fat (26% of recommended daily amount); 30% of daily cholesterol and 29% of daily sodium). Mix in some of your favorite meat or vegetables for a meal that will feed the whole family. Sautéed broccoli and sliced grilled chicken, all served in tomato sauce with the steaming hot agnolotti, represented my first stab. Let us know what your favorite combos are.
Eric: It’s funny that as I write this review of the Buitoni Riserva agnolotti, I’m also finalizing my overview of the dinner menu from Al Forno, a famed Italian restaurant in Providence, RI where I recently began working. Why it’s funny, at least to me, is that one of the terms on the menu that awakened my curiosity was that of “agnolotti.” I had never encountered this food-term before, and in trying to explain it to myself, the best comparison I could make was to that of ravioli. Reading my brother’s explanation helped me to understand that all stuffed pasta is not necessarily created equal, and furthermore, why Al Forno has a short-rib agnolotti on the menu, rather than a cheese-filled version (damn the social hierarchy).