Passion for Pasta: Giovanni Rana

Glorious flavoursome filled ravioli with tomatoes

Born in the land of all things delicious, Giovanni Rana stems from a humble town in Italy, Veronella. With the simple philosophy of “be true to yourself and the things that make you happy,” Giovanni Rana has cultivated the perfect pasta range, satisfying people’s appetite for over 50 years. Whether for dinner parties or quick and easy student-friendly meals, Giovanni Rana pasta is a popular go-to for those who seek fresh and flavoursome filled pasta within a reasonable price range.

Between its two ranges of flavour-packed pasta: ‘Simply Italian’—tortellini and ravioli, and ‘Italian Indulgence’—large ravioli, the flavours stretch from Butternut Squash and Gorgonzola & Walnut to Chicken & Rosemary, catering for a variety of individual tastes to enable people to enjoy their favourite savoury relishes with ease. Alongside its extensive pasta range, Giovanni Rana extends its offerings to sauces with flavours to suit any preference, as well as a wealth of recipes on its website to provide customers with meal inspiration.

Only four minutes to boil to perfection!

At a price range of £1.85-£2.25 for pasta (currently on promotion at ASDA and Sainsbury’s!) and under four minutes to prepare a warm, delicious and filling meal, I was dumbfounded by why I hadn’t already exploited this food option and stocked up for the year. But alas, I have finally expanded my student meal options and can gladly claim that once you try Giovanni Rana’s carby goodness, you won’t settle for anything less.

Test run: Giovanni Rana’s ‘Italian Indulgence’ pasta

Boiled ravioli mixed with homemade ‘Skinny’ recipe sauce

My first encounter with Giovanni Rana pasta was simply magical. From picking through a variety of pasta flavours, to selecting from an array of recipes on their website, I found that the overall experience was a hassle free and gratifying break from my assignments. Given that the brand is the leading producer of artisanal homemade pasta in Italy, I had extremely high expectations in terms of taste, quality and flavour, however, fret not because Giovanni Rana offered that and more!

In addition to opting for the ‘Italian Indulgence’ range, I felt particularly indulgent (and indecisive) and chose two flavour combinations! Although preparing the pasta is as straightforward as one can imagine, seeing and tasting the finished product gave me a sense of achievement as if I had handmade the pasta and fillings from scratch. From the simplicity of making the meal to the authenticity of the high-quality ingredients that burst through the pasta parcels, I was beyond impressed to say the least.

Crumbly Ricotta, shredded baby spinach & Mascarpone

Giovanni Rana ravioli with onions, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms

Spinach and ricotta are undoubtedly one of my favourite combinations ever. Although I am lactose-intolerant, this ‘cheesy’ combination is my ultimate weakness and when I found out that Giovanni Rana offered this common yet oh-so-good flavour option with a unique twist of mascarpone, I was sold. Despite the numerous recipe options and sauces available, due to weather conditions (and admittedly, pure laziness), I had to make do with what little condiments I had stashed in my cupboard. Considering that I hadn’t followed a “tested and recommended” recipe, I was hesitant and somewhat worried that I had ruined what could have possibly been an easily delicious dish. However, I think I was extremely lucky with this one (unlike my other cooking experiments…)!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 button mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper (to season)
  • Parsley (to garnish)
  • Paprika (to garnish)
  • 250g packet of Giovanni Rana Crumbly Ricotta, shredded baby spinach & Mascarpone

Method:

  • Bring a pot of slightly salted water to boil, turn down to a simmer and add in the pasta.
  • Set the timer for four minutes and in the meanwhile, fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat.
  • When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the mushrooms, tomatoes and paprika.
  • Using a frying spatula, toss around the mushrooms to make sure they are evenly cooked.
  • When the pasta is done, drain and add to the frying pan.
  • Mix the pasta with the sauce over a low heat until fully incorporated.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer the pasta evenly onto two plates.
  • Garnish with parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Dig in!

Ease: 4/5

Taste: 5/5

Feedback: Rich (the mascarpone enhanced the creamy texture), filling and everything you expect and hope from a spinach and ricotta combo! If you’re one of those people who worry about not being satisfied after a meal, trust me, this will have all your craving issues sorted (until dinner…).

Sun ripened Tomatoes, Sliced Olives & Mozzarella

Giovanni Rana ‘Skinny’ recipe

Since I already had the necessary ingredients required (apart from the capers and Parmesan cheese), I decided to give Giovanni Rana’s ‘Skinny’ recipe (from a special one-time project) a go! Below is the original recipe (with the capers and Parmesan).

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon of small capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley (plus extra to garnish)
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 250g pack of Giovanni Rana Sun ripened Tomato, Sliced Olives & Mozzarella
  • 10g of Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated

Method:

  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the red onion and garlic for five minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, capers, sugar and chopped parsley.
  • Place the ravioli in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and simmer gently for four minutes (avoid overcooking).
  • Drain the ravioli and toss with the sauce.
  • Season with black pepper, drizzle extra olive oil, add shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley.

Ease: 4/5

Taste: 4/5

Feedback: I was honestly quite surprised by the taste of this. I had tried mozzarella and tomatoes together before (honestly who hasn’t!), however, the addition of olives was foreign to my palette and I was intrigued by the results. The kick of the olives counteracted sublimely with the creamy mozzarella and although I anticipated a tomato overload (with tomatoes both in the pasta and sauce!) there were no overpowering flavours and every element of the dish blended together delightfully.

Giovanni Rana is stocked in Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Iceland, and can be ordered online on Ocado. For more details on their products and recipes, visit their website.

P.S. Find the ‘Simply Italian’ range on offer for £1 at Asda & the ‘Italian Indulgence’ range for £1.50 in Sainsbury (until 8th December).

Ready, set, stock up!

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