Full disclosure, I have been a brand ambassador for Barilla. I know and love their products so I was excited when they invited me to a cooking night to explore Barilla Pronto, their new one pan, no boil, no drain pasta. But even I was skeptical... an 'instant' pasta? Easy prep? One that actually tasted good? Yes, really.
The night went a little like this... a dozen bloggers and media personalities were invited to come up with their own Pronto creation. There was a huge table full of ingredients we could select to put in our pasta. Some of these items were pre-cooked (chicken, shrimp, bacon etc). There were some standbys (mushrooms, parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic). And there were many that I hardly ever cook with and would never think to put into pasta (pepperoni slices, dill, edamame, capers)
My selections: chicken, shallots, dill, lemon, parmesan, and creme. I usually have chicken leftovers in my fridge so I wanted to try a recipe I actually would use in 'real life'. And then it was Go time! We had only 10 minutes, from turning on the pan to plating our dish. Surprisingly, it was enough time!!
- make sure you have your ingredients ready. If you want to pre-cook anything, do this first
- put the dry pasta into your large skillet. Then add 3 cups of water. Make sure all of your pasta lies flat and is covered by the water.
- you can substitute some of the water for broth, if you wish. For example, use 2 cups water and 1 cup broth instead.
- add in some salt (sea salt preferred)
- cook on medium high. You want the water to be more simmering, not really a fast rolling boil. Cooking time is about 10 minutes. Stir the pasta regularly.
- In the first two minutes, you want to add in the raw ingredients that take a longer time to cook, like broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers. In the last five minutes, add in ingredients that are pre-cooked (like leftover chicken) or don't take much time (peas, tomatoes). In the final two minutes, add in your other liquids (like cream or white wine), your aromatic herbs (basil, dill), and your cheese
It really was that simple! The starch from the pasta gave the dish a nice creamy texture. Staggering the ingredients ensured that everything came together and was all cooked at the end.
I was impressed by the variety of dishes that came out of the event. As someone who often finds herself staring in the fridge at 5:15pm wondering what the heck to make for dinner, I'm excited that I can have dinner on the table in 10 minutes. Since the event, I've tried out a few more recipes: white wine with shrimps and peas; bacon with sun-dried tomatoes. Every single dish has turned out quick, easy, and delicious.
Curious to try Pronto out for yourself? Here's your chance! I have a basket of Pronto products courtesy of Barilla and Zeno Group Canada to giveaway. To enter, leave me a comment telling me your favourite pasta recipe. I'm always on the lookout for new combinations to try out!
Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Contest closes midnight Sunday November 13, 2016. Good luck!