Saturday, February 3, 2018

American Beauty Penne Rigate vs Best Choice!

The last time I purchased Penne Rigate at a local store, the American Beauty offering was on sale for just a buck for a one pound (545g) package. A great deal! However, the next time I stopped there, I was forced to purchase a package of Best Choice that also came in at the same weight. The cost, at $1.89, was 47% more costly, however. (Something that caused me to consider buying this stuff only when on sale in the future)!

Am Beauty vs BC
As might be pretty obvious, the Best Choice product (right) had a larger bore diameter more due to the thickness of the wall than anything else. A thicker noodle should take a bit longer to cook and this was reflected in the length of the cooking times; 6-7 minutes for the American Beauty versus 10 to 12 minutes for the BC, (or about the same amount of time it would take to cook regular spaghetti). Each package had a recommended serving size of 2/3 of a cup or 56 grams of product. (I noted that the actual counts of noodles were 69 for the American Beauty and just 57 for the heavier Best Choice).

The question that then came to my mind was one of overall taste and firmness. I prefer my pasta on the al dente (pasta that is cooked to be firm to the bite) side of things, and so aimed for that in my effort at cooking it.

OK. Let the experiment begin!


Preparation: For this test, I used 6 cups of water in a 2 quart Le Crueset. I added a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, brought the water to a rolling boil and then added the noodles. These were cooked for exactly 10 minutes, with me taste testing the noodles for doneness towards the end of that time. After cooking, I then added about a quarter cup of Hunt's tomato sauce to a sauce pan in which the two were brought together for the first, (and the last) time. That added a minute to the cooking time for the noodles. The only extra ingredient I used was a very light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. (At ~260 calories, this was a very doable diet styled meal)! Note: I'm not sure where that garlic toast came from!! That, and the tomato juice elevated this meal into the 400 calorie level...

Results: When compared to the American Beauty pasta, I found the Best Choice version to feel a lot more 'meaty'. It went OK together with the sauce and I enjoyed the experience. Still, in the future, I plan to base my selection strictly on the cost factor and will go with the 'lighter' noodle when I can!

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