Bonnie: Refrigerated pasta can be a quick and tasty dinner option, especially when it’s from Monterey Pasta. If you’re cooking for Valentine’s Day Tuesday, do consider this for a light, incredibly uncomplicated meal to share with a loved one. Just add a salad, some crusty bread a good bottle of red wine plus some candles and a single red rose in a bud vase. Simplicity at its best.
As for Monterey Pasta — the company began as a neighborhood fresh pasta shop in its namesake California city in 1989. And now Monterey Pasta Company is part of a larger company that adheres to principles that I applaud. Those rules include not using hydrogenated oils, GMO ingredients, or artificial coloring, flavorings, sweeteners, preservatives and/or synthetic substances.
Its newest line of ravioli is made with premium fresh ingredients. I found the two made with organic ingredients to be my favorite, liking the Creamy Ricotta Florentine a tad better than the Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella. The Creamy Ricotta Florentine is made with organic spinach, organic semolina flour and organic eggs.
But you can’t go wrong with any of its ravioli, as the entire line features tender pasta with delicately flavored fillings.
Nutritionally, the Creamy Ricotta Florentine contains 270 calories, is moderate in saturated fat (5 grams of 10 grams total) and a tad high in sodium (480 milligrams). That sodium shouldn’t be a problem if you eat these fairly unadorned, which I recommend, as each one really stands on its own.
What I suggest after cooking is to sauté the drained ravioli in a smidgen — about a teaspoon per portion — of unsalted butter or olive oil to lightly coat, letting the filling’s flavors shine through.
Bryan: “Good” food isn’t all about taste. Though flavor may be the most important component in any good food equation, there is more to food than just flavor. Sometimes it really is the principle that makes a difference. I’ve never raised any product to a level it did not deserve when its flavor was lacking. Bad taste cannot be overcome, even while tipping a hat to principle. Solid core beliefs in food production do not necessarily add up to a quality product, but when something wonderful-tasting has its core food philosophy correct, too… you’ve got yourself a keeper. Enter Monterey Gourmet.
Monterey Gourmet Foods does not use artificial preservatives, chemical additives, artificial colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, synthetic substances, monosodium glutamate (MSG) or hydrogenated oils in its products. The company also is dedicated to using ingredients only from cows that have NOT been treated with recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or antibiotics.
Did all that sound a little too much like a drug company’s commercial disclaimer to you? Me too. And unfortunately, that is the simple truth of modern food: It’s artificial. You are what you eat, blah, blah, blah. We’ve all heard it all before, but sometimes life moves just too fast to try to keep a vegetable garden in your backyard. It’s hard to eat naturally! Well, thank Monterey Gourmet, cause they just made it a whole lot easier. Can you handle just heating up some fresh/frozen pasta? Anyone who can’t handle this simple task: Just give up on eating healthy and stop reading. For the rest of us, it’s so darned simple; it’s natural.
Boil some water and let the fresh pasta cook for 4 to 5 minutes (double the time if frozen), drain and serve with your favorite sauce (Monterey Gourmet Foods makes a few if you’re interested). The Creamy Ricotta Florentine is a simply delicious blend of spinach and cheese (ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and asiago to be exact) with nothing not to love. Great with tomato sauce, though I did find I prefer a creamy, Alfredo sauce with the hearty ravioli. You could even go pesto and I’m sure it would amaze. It’s a good for you, all-natural product and it’s as easy as any fast food or frozen meal. Enjoy.
Eric:I have a love affair with fresh pasta, and for good reason, it’s absolutely delicious. Give me some Kerrygold butter and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on a bed of fresh linguine and I’m like a pig in you know what…
For all those wondering about my love affair, fresh pasta — meaning not dried, frozen or canned — defines how “real” pasta should taste, and it all started while growing-up in CT and frequenting one of my favorite Italian haunts, Luizzi’s Cheese. This store is the savory version of Wonka’s chocolate factory, and the highlight, aside from the fresh mozzarella balls, was the pasta — and oh did we indulge.
My first bite into Monterey Pasta Company’s Creamy Ricotta Florentine Ravioli brought my memories back to the days of Luizzi’s. There is something incredibly fresh tasting about this pasta — and it’s good, real good. Boil water, put the timer on five minutes, and pour yourself a glass of good Pinot. Dinner is ready!