Thursday, April 16, 2009

Product Review: Three Punks Relish and Buitoni Reserve Pastas

From time to time, companies send me products to taste-test. Obviously, their hope is that as a food blogger, I will then write something about them---hopefully something good. I've had a few things that I did not like, but decided to contact the company representative privately, rather than bad-mouth them all over the internet. I feel the same way about restaurant reviews/profiles; if I don't like a place, I just don't write about it.

That brings me to the first of two recent products that came into my hands. Three Punks Relish is an "authentic Austrailian tomato topping" produced right here in Connecticut. Although it is called "relish" it doesn't really resemble anything Americans call relish. It is more like a chutney, which can be used as a glaze for meats or vegetables. This family recipe originated in 1920, and was created by the owner's Australian grandmother.

Over the weekend I grilled a butterflied whole chicken, and slathered it with this relish during the last 20 minutes of cooking. It was DELICIOUS! My entire family loved it (including my sometimes picky children). The glaze caramelized nicely giving a sweet flavor to the skin. I think it would be equally good on fish, pork loin, or even as an alternative topping for a burger. Three Punks Relish is sold at Billy's Bakery and The Pantry in Fairfield, but they are adding new stores all the time, so check their website for updates.

The second product is a new line of fresh pasta from Buitoni. Their new "Riserva" line is designed for those looking for something a little fancier than regular ravioli. As my mother can attest, I have always been a bit of a ravioli/stuffed pasta freak, so when I received this package I was pretty excited. They make four new varieties which include Chicken Four Cheese Ravioli, Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti, Spicy Beef and Sausage Ravioli, and the selection I was sent, Wild Mushroom Stuffed Agnolotti. They all are found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.

The package states that the pasta is filled with "fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, imported Grana Padano and Parmesan cheeses and fresh roasted garlic." This is all fine, however I find it strange that they are acting like portobello and crimini mushrooms are two different mushrooms! Portobello mushrooms are simply criminis that have been allowed to grow bigger (which is why criminis are often referred to as "baby bellas"). This aside, I set out to do some tasting.

I decided to keep the sauce extra simple so I could really taste the flavors of the agnolotti (which is basically a half-moon shaped ravioli). I stuck with a Sage-Brown Butter Sauce (recipe on my Season to Taste blog) and topped the whole thing with lots of parmesan cheese. I must say it was really delicious. The filling was ample and very flavorful. There were actually more mushrooms than anything else, unlike many other filled pastas which are mostly ricotta or some other filler. My only complaint is that the package is very small...just 9 ounces. One package was only enough for two appetizer portions, so plan accordingly.
So, there you have it....two new products on the market, both get a "thumbs up" from The Secret Ingredient!

1 comment:

Lane said...

I love burgers. so customizable to how ever you'd like it and pretty much anything goes good on it as a topping. I had lunch from this restaurant in Chicago today where we did the restaurant menu design and the have 35 different types of burgers and 10 different types of fries. and that's all they have. I can see my self getting really fat soon if i eat there enough. all there burgers are 1lb!