Refrigerated pasta

There are lots of refrigerated fresh pasta products these days, but those from Italian pasta artisan Giovanni Rana offer an interesting array of more than a dozen pastas (ravioli filled with artichoke, mushroom or rosemary chicken among them) plus sauces.

Options include the Ravioli Caprese Duet (green and white ravioli doughs, half filled with tomato and mozzarella, the other with basil pesto) and the meat-ricotta mix in Tortelloni Prosciutto. With a thin pasta dough, the fillings shine.

They take a 2-minute boil in water.

Suggested retail price: $4.99 to $5.99 for a

12-ounce package.


matzo ball

Thanks to Streit's Gluten Free Matzo Ball Mix, those who must avoid the protein found in wheat can still enjoy the dumplings in soup.

Streit's recipe uses potatoes for the Kosher for Passover and Certified Gluten-Free mix, which plumped up nicely as they cooked and proved delicious when devoured.

The 4.5-ounce box contains two packets (nine balls per packet).

The suggested retail price: $2.99. For a store locater or to buy, see

Wine of the week

2001 Faustino I Tinto Rioja 'Gran Reserva'

Region: Rioja, Spain

Price: About $30

Style: Ripe and lush

What it goes with: Lamb, Manchego cheese

This is why Rioja is one of the best values in red wine right now. Where else could you find such a distinguished red from the 2001 vintage for less than $35?

This isn't something a shrewd wine merchant put away for a few years but the estate's current release.

And what a mature beauty it is - aromas of dried cherry and rose petals, flavors of dark berries and tobacco, ripe tannins and a long, inviting finish. A seamless package.

It will go well with just about anything, but I'm thinking lamb - a roast or chops. If we were in Rioja, those baby chops would be grilled over vine cuttings and would be just the thing to show off the nuances of this great Rioja.

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