Sunday, February 21, 2010

The world according to Benito Nava

Benito Nava is a Italian restaurateur that has launched a new brand of Italian foods, in co-operation with the Norwegian REMA 1000 group. One of the better line Italian products I have found lately.

I am pleased to see that Norwegian food stores are taking consumers seriously by extending the range of products beyond the bare necessities. REMA 1000 are slowly turning into my favourite among the low price food shops here in Norway.

They introduced their Benito Nava brand with a line of different products. I tasted a few, and they were better than many other brands of Italian products I have found in the shelves.

Chicken scaloppina or thinly sliced chicken breast as Buffalo tenders

300 grams offered at NOK 29,90 is cheap, as these slices go a very long way.

I used these slices for tapas. I mixed McCormick Original Buffalo Wings seasoning (bought in the US - not available here in Norway) with olive oil into a paste, and allowed the blend to infuse overnight.

The next day I placed 300 grams chicken scaloppina in the paste to marinate for another day. As the thinly sliced chicken breast were covered in seasoning and oil they were easily finished off in a dry hot non-stick pan.

A favourite among my guests.

See presentation of product and additional recipe here (in Norwegian)

Benito's Italian meat balls as Spanish Albondigas

The best meat balls are definitely the ones you are making yourself, but Benito Navas meat balls are some of the better ones I have tasted. You get 60o grams for 55 NOK. For meatballs as most other dishes the secret's in the sauce.

I prepared them as Spanish albondigas. I made a tasty tomato sauce with heaps of garlic, onions, tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs, salt and sugar, and immersed the meatballs in the thick sauce.

In this way it was easy to prepare them. I placed the meatballs and the sauce in an oven proof dish and finished them in a medium hot oven (180C).

Pastasauce Arrabbiata

At only 14,90 per packet (22o ml), this is an easy and affordable option for a quick dinner.

To be picky, I would have preferred it to be a little hotter, as real arrabbiata is a pungent experience due to the amount of red chili in it.

Sadly I also found that Benito Nava's sauce (as nearly all) contained too much vinegar. I used a little sugar to cut the acidity.

I cooked some linguini, mixed in some oil and the sauce, and finished it off with a drizzle of Parmesan cheese. A decent and easy choice for a mid week dinner.

(Photos: McCormick website and Sandstein)

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