Caesar’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Gourmet’s 3 Cheese Herb Rigatoni & Meat Sauce

By | Jun 7, 2017

By Beckee Moreland, Beyond Celiac Director of GREAT Kitchens

I’m one of a few remote employees at Beyond Celiac so joining the ‘Lunch Bunch’ in the office is a real treat for me to chat with my colleagues about weekend plans, hobbies, and new products or recipes. Normally, my lunch consists of reheated leftovers at my desk in my home office. Pretty boring. But my office visits also give me an opportunity to sample many of the gluten-free products that show up in the staff fridge or freezer.

Today I sampled a frozen pasta entree, Caesar’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Gourmet’s 3 Cheese Herb Rigatoni & Meat Sauce. Even though the title’s quite a mouthful, it was the perfect portion size for lunch. I love pasta, all shapes, sizes, and sauces, but not all gluten-free pastas are equal. They can be gummy, mushy, hard to chew, and tasteless, so I was eager to see if Caesar’s Kitchen passed the taste and texture test.

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First the Ingredients
If you have celiac disease, reading labels is very important but can be insightful too.  All the ingredients were clearly identified on the box, including the specific components of the main ingredients: meat and tomato sauce, gluten-free pasta, and cheeses (ricotta blend, mozzarella and parmesan). Plus the box called out other attributes: certified gluten-free, organic, USDA inspected, 13 grams of protein, hormone-free beef, and 380 calories. Hmmm, a frozen meal that’s safe and you can feel good about eating. Nice!

Cooking Instructions
The pre-cooked pasta dish can be heated in a microwave or conventional oven. With limited options in the office, I microwaved the meal, which was simple and efficient. Poke holes in the plastic wrap, heat, stir, heat again, wait a minute, then eat. All steps took a total of 5 minutes.

Appearance, Taste, and Texture
The Italian aromas were fantastic, definitely making my mouth water. I could clearly see the ground beef, chunks of tomato, creamy ricotta, and melted cheese while stirring AND the rigatoni noodles didn’t break up. Big plus! As far as the taste, I was impressed. I’m not a frozen food fan, but I thought the dish had a really solid Italian flavor. There was a true tang from the tomato sauce, meaty ground beef, and I really loved the ricotta blend and sharp parmesan and chewy mozzarella. The rigatoni noodles held up and still had texture and bite. I looked for the herbs since it was mentioned in the title. Even though I didn’t see any, the sauce seemed to have an herbaceous quality to it that I liked.

Overall, I would purchase Caesar’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Gourmet’s 3 Cheese Herb Rigatoni & Meat Sauce, add a salad, and a glass of wine for a fast hearty dinner and also include a recommendation to my colleagues during my next lunch with the staff.

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