As a homemaker, I already have my favorite brands of ingredients. Admittedly, I’m quite skeptical about trying other products because those that I normally buy are tried and tested in making my pasta specialties like spaghetti Bolognese and carbonara. However, I’m also frustrated that I serve almost the same dishes every time there’s a gathering at my house. It’s really time to expand my culinary repertoire.
Food for Thought
And who better to take a cue from than the domestic goddess herself Nigella Lawson? In her recent visit to the Manila, she was all too eager to share her recipes and the array of ingredients used to make them. “Maximum flavor for minimum effort,” is something she would say repeatedly in her shows. This encourages women (those who cook and those that do not) to try her no-fail kitchen blueprints. There is also no secret to great cooking according to her. One thing is non-negotiable though. You must always have the best ingredients.
Nigella’s favorite brand, at the moment, is Contadina. Distributed by Del Monte Philippines, the brand means “women of the field” in Italian. Its line of products include olive oils (extra virgin and pure)from Andalucia, Spain, pasta from Canada , pasta sauces (formaggio, napoletana, arrabiata, aglio arrostito, pesto ala genovese) from Italy and canned tomatoes (crushed, diced and stewed) from California.
A few weeks ago, I took part in a grocery supermarket raid sponsored by Del Monte at Robinsons Selections at the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill. The goal was to have a recipe in mind and buy the necessary ingredients with gift certificates from Robinsons Selections (including Contadina products, of course!) within a specified period. Guests were also asked to take and post creative photos while shopping. While I did not win the fastest shopper prize (I had heels on and took my time in reading labels and inspecting all the products in the Contadina booth), I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And I was surprised to know that all the products are very affordable. Good news for homemakers talaga!
The very next day I bought fresh bread from the neighborhood bakery and prepared dinner for the family. I did not want to make anything too fancy. First off, I cut the bruschetta diagonally and lightly drizzled it with Contadina extra virgin oilive oil. I then topped it with diced tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. (Put this in the oven for five minutes to lightly brown the bread.) Then I decided to pair this with creamy chicken pesto. In cooking pasta remember to prepare your sauce and other ingredients first. This way when your pasta is cooked, you can immediately put it in the sauce and finish cooking it there. So first, I used Contadina pure olive oil to sauté garlic before I browned the chicken breasts on both sides. Then I boiled a big pot of salted water and cooked the Contadina linguine pasta for about 9 minutes to achieve that al dente bite. To finish the dish, I combined the pasta, chicken (do slice it for easy sharing), Contadina pesto sauce and some sundried tomatoes, tossed to coat all the ingredients evenly and grated parmesan generously on top. My family’s verdict ? Delicious! And I made everything in just 45 minutes!
After the festivities of the holidays, it’s now time to prepare for the new year. Ladies, it’s time to whip up new dishes to serve to the family. Surprise your crew with a Mediterranean inspired spread like I did and watch them eat with gusto!
All Contadina products are now available in leading groceries.
Here’s wishing everybody a blessed and most bountiful 2017. Cheers!
With a pocketful of glitter,