It started, as perfectly as it could, with an email. You may have seen Pasta Evangelists popping up on your TweetBook and InstaFace feeds recently promoting some celeb connections with Giles Coren, Pru Leith and William Sitwell to drop a couple of famous foodie names. The premise is as simple as it is delicious; they make fresh pasta and sauce, then they send it to you in the post. You cook it, mix it, eat it and love it. They offered to send me some pasta and follow those very simple instructions. I, of course said yes, so what could go wrong?
Sometimes we reach our happy place in the world, we bring joy, laughter and positivity to ourselves and others. Sometimes, we get screwed over and we scream out ‘sod you!’ to the world then drink too much wine and cry ourselves to sleep to make ourselves feel better. But sometimes, just sometimes, we trip over the shoelaces of our own incompetence and the only sensible thing to do is to say ‘Thank you’ for the cosmic gift of humility, give up on the day and go back to bed. This is a story about one of those times.
After the email, I received a parcel through the post; it was marked with multiple labels that hinted at the delicious promises held within. I opened the pack to uncover the contents and saw two packs of pasta, two sauces and two cute little pots of pre-grated parmesan cheese all held in an amazing freezer bag keeping everything super cold. Things looked good. The included leaflet gave me some interesting reading and I put all the parts in the fridge as instructed to wait for dinner that evening. Then the phone rang.
On the line was a member of staff from my mums local gym, he recounted to me in a fairly stressed manner how my mother, whilst practicing the universally recognised placid art of Pilates had managed to fall over and was now lying prostrate cursing like a sailor and about to be carted off to hospital. Of course I dropped what I was doing and drove over. It turns out that she had managed to obtain a stress fracture to the second vertebrate in her lower spine which meant two things. First, she was going to be in hospital for the next three weeks as a minimum and second, I was not going to be back in time for dinner.
Later that night, I returned home full of Ginsters steak slice and Heatwave Doritos ready to throw away my generously provided dinner in the certain knowledge that I wouldn’t be in the right place to enjoy it for a few days, but as I had a closer look at the colour coded packs I noticed that all the parts could be frozen for later consumption – a stroke of luck!
Several weeks have now past and thankfully mum is on the mend. She is back at home, I’ve stopped making the daily trips to hospital paying five quid a time to park (don’t get me bloody started on that!) and she is re-considering her so-called ‘exercise regime’. I suggested Judo might be more suitable as at least you are supposed to fall over. Now I’ve got time to think about cooking again and my thoughts turned to the pasta safely tucked away in the freezer. What were the instructions again? Cook, mix and serve? Even without the packaging which I had lost in my earlier excitement I thought I could do that. Add a large glass of plonk and that sounded pretty damn near perfect.
I de-frosted the sauce, boiled the water, poured the wine and started to relax. I had received two meals; a mushroom filled tortelloni with a pot of garlic and crab pesto paste type affair and some Maccheroni pasta to be served with a tomato and smoky pancetta sauce. I then poured a second glass of wine and relaxed again. Maybe it was because I was able to put a very stressful world on pause for a few minutes, maybe it was because the wine (a very pleasant Portuguese red from Naked Wines just FYI) was too nice for it’s own good or maybe it was just, well, because. Whatever the reason, I let my guard down and Murphys law took full advantage of my weakened and unsuspecting state.
You know how I had mentioned that the packs were colour coded? You can see in the picture that the packets are very clearly differentiated. It makes things super easy to follow, I mean a child could clearly be able to see which sauce goes with which pasta. Red with red, orange with orange. It’s obvious, right? Yeah, about that. Apparently despite the incredibly simple three step process that has been designed to ensure that nothing could possibly go wrong, I was incapable of even the most simplest of tasks that day and managed to swap the sauces over. I have not, until now, informed Pasta Evangelists of this error as their method of very clear labeling which sauce/pasta combo you should use is perfect for people with more than two brain cells which on this occasion, I very clearly did not.
Not content with eating my beautifully soft and very vegetarian tortelloni with the incorrect but still deliciously rich tomato and deep pancetta flavours (which tasted all the better for being a pasta rebel btw), I also managed to completely cock up the giant maccheroni by not having the water hot enough then panicking and draining it all way too early. The only saving grace was that it was mixed with the gorgeous crab paste and it still looked pretty good when put on the plate for dinner.
All of this resulted in a meal, many weeks in the making with setbacks and hurdles aplenty. But despite the frozen, sauce swapped car crash cooking techniques, how did it taste? Bloody lovely. The logistics of successfully fresh pasta through the post is brilliant, the depth and flavour of those sauces are absolutely incredible and simplicity of creating such a delicious dinner (personal incompetence aside) is nothing short of criminal. I know a few people who use the Hello Fresh/Gousto type meal plans and this fits right in there but for ease, flavour and pasta education Pasta Evangelists cannot be beat.
If you are short on time, motivation or skill but you still want to participate in some seriously high class pasta action then it’s a massive endorsement for Pasta Evangelists from me. Just make sure that the phone is turned off before you want to cook it, you never know who is going to call.
Pasta Evangelists sent me a pack with two meals for free, but as you can see that didn’t save them from my ineptitude.
You can experience Pasta Evangelists for yourself for anything from £6.66 per meal up to £9 depending on how many you order. Honestly, if you try it – you’ll love it.