I have always been a lover of Italian food, from the plates of spaghetti bolognese I shared with my sister in restaurants (begrudgingly on her part) when we were small, to my more recent holidays to Italy experiencing the ‘real thing’. So, when I saw that Ciao Gusto were looking for people to try and review their Italian Cannamela branded products, I was more than happy to offer my help! This range of herbs and spices is all about adding authentic Italian flavours to home cooking, and the pasta mixes, herbs and spices are delightfully simple, and full of robust flavour.
I’m not a fan of premixed pasta sauces and jars, so I love that Cannamela products are a mix of spices and herbs, bursting with flavour, and with no hidden added ingredients. I have spent the last week getting stuck in, feeding my fiancé plenty of pasta – and there have certainly been no complaints from him! All of the products I have tried so far have been fantastic in their own ways, and add a variety of benefits to my cooking. I have enjoyed using them all, but have pulled out a few of my favourites here.
I started the week off with the Olio, Aglio e Pepperoncino mix, and it definitely began our meals for the week with a bang! Not least because I underestimated the amount of flavour and spice in the mix. However, as lovers of spicy food, we couldn’t help but agree that the result was delicious. This is a perfect combination of dried garlic and chilli flakes, and packs not only a spice, but also a serious flavour punch. The contents of the pack are easy to mix up with olive oil into a sauce to coat freshly cooked pasta with the chilli and garlic flavours. Because this is such a simple dish that really rests on the taste of the ingredients, I would recommend using the best quality olive oil you can get to match that intense chilli and garlic.
This amazing flavour inspired me to experiment a little later in the week. We’d only used half a pack on Monday, but the intense flavour of the sauce made me think these same garlic and chilli flakes would be wonderful in a tangy tomato sauce. And I was so right! Adding a tin of chopped tomatoes to a pan, with the other half of the Olio, Aglio e Pepperoncino pack and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, made a delicious spicy pasta sauce, with that undertone of garlic adding body and heart to the tomatoes. In fact, it was perfect for generously coating fusilli pasta, as the sauce gets into the gaps in the pasta twists. Top generously with parmesan for a perfect quick dinner option.
Tangy Tomato Pasta Sauce
Serves 3-4, cooking time 10 minutes
½ pack of Cannamela Olio, Aglio e Pepperoncino mix
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch good sea salt
Pour the tomatoes into a pan, bring to the boil and turn to a low simmer.
Add the Cannamela Olio, Aglio e Pepperoncino mix, olive oil and salt.
Mix together and simmer for 5-6 minutes, to let the flavours infuse into the tomato.
Toss through freshly cooked pasta, top with parmesan and black pepper, and enjoy!
I was curious to try the Rost Arom roasting spices and herbs mix, as usually I make up my own seasonings for roasts as I go along. This mix is made for adding to roasted meats to give that perfect seasoning as it cooks, however, in my opinion where it really shines, is on roast potatoes. The blend of herbs and juniper are a wonderful savoury seasoning to good roasties, with a strong aroma and flavour of rosemary. As this happens to be one of my absolute favourites for adding to roasties, I was probably predisposed to like this mix, but the blend of herbs together really is delicious. I never would have thought to add juniper to roast potatoes before, but it complements the other herbs really well. Sprinkle over parboiled potatoes, in an oiled roasting tray and crisp in a hot oven for fluffy, flavoursome potato heaven. See how to make the perfect roasties here, and substitute the fresh herbs for this Rost Arom mix.
And finally, the saffron sachets, pre-measured for 2 people, are a fantastic idea. The gorgeous red saffron is crushed into a fine powder, so it’s perfect for mixing evenly through risottos, rice, smooth sauces and paella. The measured quantities are a brilliantly easy way to know exactly how much to add to your recipe for the right flavour. Measuring out strands of saffron can be difficult, as they all clump together, coming out of the jar in one tangled blob. They weight hardly anything, and don’t fit well in a spoon, so how on earth do you measure them? With these packets, you don’t have to. Count your people, select the right number of packets, and add them in. Job done. Paella anyone?
I have loved testing and reviewing the Cannamela products this week, and look forward to using them in my cooking in future! But don’t take my word for it. Look out for an offer across the range coming up on the Ciao Gusto Italian Deli at Ocado in March, and use this great opportunity to add some Italian flavours to your own food!
Find out more about Cannamela and their products here.