6600 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights
What do you get when you cross an English household goods manufacturer, a British tea producer and a German house specializing in dried soup mixes?
Why, Nacho Pasta, of course!
Born of Unilever's acquisition of the Lipton and Knorr brands, Knorr Lipton Fiesta Sides Nacho Pasta: Rotini Pasta Smothered in a Nacho Cheddar Cheese Sauce is one product in the triumvirate's Fiesta Sides line of dehydrated noodle and rice dishes. Other products include Taco Rice and Jalapeño Jack Pasta.
Dotted with flecks of rehydrated red, green and jalapeño peppers, a bowl of Nacho Pasta holds all the promise of a tricked-out crock of mac & cheese. "Smothered in Nacho Cheddar Cheese Sauce"? Not really. This is a powdered cheese substance, containing requisite flavor-boosting delicacies like autolyzed yeast extract, annatto and disodium guanylate. The ingredients list also boasts lots of asterisks. "Swimming in a Jaundiced Broth with the Consistency of Unpasteurized Apple Cider" is closer to the mark.
To dive into a dish of Nacho Pasta is to be greeted by that familiar starch and salt combo, bent into a Cheddar cheese approximation. But what's that? A little heat? Yes, the dish has a little tang, the sort of tang you'd get if you took the jalapeños and cheese sauce from stadium nachos, added a cup and a half of water and ran it through a blender on liquefy. The rotini is springy, with just enough body to remind you that what you're eating is actually a grain product. As for the pepper flecks, let's just say you'll notice them if one gets caught in your teeth.
I've got to hand it to the folks at Unilever/Lipton/Knorr. If I ever find myself one of the sole survivors of a nuclear attack, Nacho Pasta is the sort of dish that might make life in my fallout shelter bearable (if not good).