You might remember my first visit to the Unilever Test Kitchen when I learned all about cooking and baking with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! I was lucky enough to be invited to another fun blogger event there recently, this time for Ragu sauce. This gathering was appropriately scheduled for dinnertime, so I had my husband take a half day off and I waited for my car to arrive. My driver, a.k.a. Mario Andretti got us there an hour early. I was relieved to see that some of my fellow Philly Social Media Mom friends were in the same boat – so it turned out nicely that we had the time to chat.
Once we got rolling, we met and mingled with Head Chef Sarah Page, dietician Felicia Stoller and quite a few other friendly people representing Ragu. All while taste-testing a yummy appetizer using the newest Old-World Style Ragu sauce which has two servings of vegetables packed into a 1/2 cup of sauce. It’s still the same great flavor and smooth texture, but it has a thicker consistency which prefer. How’s that for concealing your kids’ veggies?
I remembered seeing something on the invitation about recipes and cooking, but must have missed the fact that we’d actually be doing the cooking. I couldn’t believe they were going to trust us mom bloggers with sharp knives and open flames, this was going to be fun.
The Challenge – Cook a dish incorporating the new Ragu Old-World Style sauce that will take no more than 45 minutes from beginning to end, and then we’re all going to taste everyone’s dishes. No pressure. All of the ingredients and supplies were laid out for us, and let me tell you – these were some quality ingredients.
This is what I grabbed from the pile:
- A 1 lb. box of ziti
- 1 of each: an onion, red pepper and yellow pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Bowl of uncooked shrimp
- Package of fresh mozzarella (I couldn’t resist)
- 1 Jar of Ragu
First, I started boiling the water for the pasta. Did you know that you’re supposed to time cooking from when the water re-boils after you’ve added the pasta. I didn’t, and it’s written right on the box!
Next, I chopped the onion and peppers and began to sauté them on medium-high heat until they cooked through.
I added densley chopped garlic cloves mid-way through. It was smelling great. Once the veggies were almost done, I added the shrimp and cooked them for just a few minutes. They’re done as soon as they turn pink.
After the pasta was done, I strained the pot and added the Ragu sauce. I tossed in the contents of my skillet and transferred to a serving dish, and then added thin slices of fresh mozzarella. I wasn’t sure how to make the mozzarella melt more easily and I didn’t want to overcook the shrimp (there’s nothing worse). One of the talented cooks in the kitchen had the idea to cover the dish in foil and just let it rest on the stovetop of one of the ovens and that did the trick.
Then the fun part: We all got to pig out. This was the spread. Mine is in front and center, and it was yummy but was not my favorite dish out of them all. There was a yummy veggie lasagna, eggplant parmesan and chorizo with pineapple pasta dish that were my favorites.
Here’s a photo of me with Sarah Page, before the cheese-melting process began. There are a ton of other professionally taken photos on the Ragu fan page.
No compensation was received for this post. I received free transportation to this event. A big thank you to the folks at Ragu and Weber Shandwick for putting this together; I had a wonderful time!