Here we have two cheesy pasta treats which are so enthusiastic they have exclamation marks. One contains real broccoli floret pieces and is good for you!, while the other in ready in 5! and makes the bold claim of being gloriously tasty.
‘Warning requires cooking – in a proper pan!’
First up the Asda Good For You
Number of ingredients: 15 including broccoli (1.6%)
Description: Spaghetti in a cheese flavoured sauce with broccoli floret pieces
The first thing you notice when you open the packet is that it contains real spaghetti. No that’s not true, the first thing you notice when you tear through the foil is the acrid, over-powering, eye-watering smell of vomit. Then you notice the spaghetti which actually isn’t ‘real’ but stunted with a strange rough texture.
The preparation consists of emptying the contents into a saucepan, adding the prescribed amount of boiling water and simmering for 8 minutes. That’s 8 minutes during which your kitchen will be filled with the heady aroma of bubbling vomit. To serve, slop into a dish and stand back in horror.
On the plus side, the pasta was not too soggy. On the negative side, the sauce had separated and tasted like salty custard with a hint of vomit. The much heralded broccoli floret pieces were minuscule, crunchy and strangely fishy.
Conclusion: Fake spaghetti in a runny puke sauce.
Next the Ainsley ‘Meal in 5!’
Number of ingredients: 26 including dried vegetables (4.5%)
Price: 66p (reduced from 99p)
Description: A gorgeously Tasty Meal in minutes…
Now I actually found this in Waitrose (albeit on the clearance shelf) so we must be talking about a quality product here. Besides, Ainsley Harriott is a serious world-renowned chef who wouldn’t sully his reputation by putting his name to a range of glorified Pot Noodle, would he?
The contents are the now familiar combination of micro pasta and yellow dust.
As usual the pasta was soggy and overcooked and the sauce salty and runny. There was a background taste of reconstituted dried vegetables of a non-specific nature. Carrot was seen.
Conclusion: Neutral enough to be inoffensive and would probably be a welcome meal if you were stuck halfway up the side of a mountain.
Winner: Ainsley by a long way although to be fair the benchmark was a bowl of sick.