Meet The Gourmet Snack Made From Real Pasta!
It was a real night for a fire and my turn to have the girls round for drinks, aka, bookclub. I was browsing the local farm shop for a few nibbles to put with a glass of wine when these little beauties jumped out.
‘PASTINOs’, ‘ The Real Gourmet Pasta Snack’. ‘Bringing together the word PASTa with the Italian word for snack spunTINOS and you have’ PASTINOS. I was intrigued! Four enticing flavours, Sicilian Lemon, Chianti & Olive, Tomato & Sweet Basil and Arrabbiata.
I popped some into my basket and headed home in a hurry.
With everyone present and correct, snacks on the table and glass in hand, we got started. When I say got started, I mean we talked incessantly and nibbled a lot. They girls made noises of “ooh these ‘crunchy things’ are different” and ‘where d’you get these’ and “nice with the dip’ in between not talking about the book. (this is usually a sign that this month’s choice hasn’t been finished or liked by most)
The following day, the remainder of the Pastinos, were sniffed out pronto by my family and demolished.
It came as no surprise to learn that Pastinos were created by two Italian men, Roberto and Giuseppe, with a desire to produce ‘great tasting food’. Roberto is the genius in the kitchen and Giuseppe the businessman. I had the privilege of speaking with Sicilian born Giuseppe who gave me an insightful and amusing interview which is attached to this blog. (Find out what his last meal on Earth would be and which celebrity actor popped by for supper at his home in Sicily!)
Together they have invented this novel product made from real pasta using quality durum wheat. They do not use artificial colours or flavours nor do they use hydrogenated fat or MSG. Compared to a potato crisp product they have approximately 100 less calories per 100g and a lot less saturated fat.
Pastinos have a delightful texture. Light crispy ‘rigatoni’ tubes each one with distinct mature flavours. My favourites were the Sicilian Lemon and the Chianti & Olive. The Arrabbiata came a close third and I found the Tomato & Basil less to my taste, more for the sweeter tooth which suited my kids!
Although these crunchy bold snacks are a treat in their own right, I couldn't help having a play with them in the kitchen and got to thinking they would make a great store cupboard item for creating easy main meals.
Here are a couple of ideas.
Sea Bream With Sicilian Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Crumb
I simply took a 100g skin fillet of Sea Bream and laid it skin side down on non-stick baking tray.
Pre-heat your oven to 190C, Gas 5.
Crush 1 tablespoon of Sicilian Lemon & Cracked Black Pepper Pastinos ( I did this by placing the Pastinos into a freezer bag and bashing with a rolling pin) Mix these crumbs with a tablespoon of wholemeal breadcrumbs and press firmly onto the fish fillet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place in pre-heated oven for approx. 12-15mins or until golden and crispy.
Serve with a slice of fresh lemon and green salad.
Also delicious with cod or hake.
Linguine ‘Arrabbiata’ Style
I cooked 100g of linguine pasta, drained it, served it in a bowl and garnished with 1 tablespoon of crushed Arrabbiata Pastinos and a little fresh parmesan.
You could try this with any of the Pastino flavours to add oomph to your pasta.
For more information on where you can purchase Pastinos, click on link below.
Interview with Giuseppe
1 As we all know, it is one thing to have a great idea, it is another to bring it to fruition. How long did it take to develop this most unusual snack and are you willing to share the process on how it is made?
It’s taken about 4 years to create and develop Pastinos and we managed to ovecome all the hurdles in production during that time. Pastinos is a bit of a secret formula although I can say it IS actually made of pasta!
2 What do you love most about your current job?
I love the fact that Pastinos is really new and innovative, it’s really different to anything else out there and I like being a part of that innovation. The fact that we’re able to share this idea with lots of people I find really exciting.
3 What is your favourite food memory?
Every year I make a special tomato sauce at my home in Sicily, it’s a real family affair and my mother in law ‘Nonna’ as we call her, gets involved. It’s great fun and of course all the tomatoes are from Sicily so eating the fresh home made sauce on fresh spaghetti is even better. Last year actor Ray Winstone, who also has a home in Sicily dropped by and really loved the sauce!
4 What would be your last meal on this Earth and who would prepare it?
I’d have to say for starters, fresh Sicilian made Ricotta followed by fresh Sicilian spaghetti and meat balls. ‘Nonna’ would have to be there as she means a lot to me and also my family, including grand kids.
5 What would be the setting for this meal and who would be your companions?
Sitting outside a restaurant in Sicily on a warm Summer evening with my family preferably in my home village Cianciana – which roughly translates as ‘The Chiming Bells’. It’s as if time stands still during those evenings. I love that.
6 What would you say is the most depressing trend in modern food?
Fast Food. I avoid it.
7 Favourite cookbooks?
I don’t really use cookbooks to be honest. I’m Sicilian so recipes get passed down the generations as a matter of course.
8 What is your guilty food pleasure?
Spaghetti Vongole, I could eat that every single day – I’m not really a dessert man to be honest.
9 Who in the food world do you most admire?
I like Jamie’s stance on good honest simple food cooked well, that’s a kind of Sicilian ethic. I like his down to earth approach to it all too.
10 What song best describes your work ethic?
Sinatra’s ‘I did it my way’…without doubt!
11 If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
I would say Robert de Niro, he has a unique style that pushes the boundaries and challenges tradition. I’d like to think I do that myself whenever I can.