Spinach and ricotta pasta

We check the product for taste, while food expert Joanna Blythman gives her health rating

Giovanni Rana tender spinach and ricotta tortelloni

TASTE A cooking time of just one minute leaves this pasta with an excellent al dente bite. Each mouthful has a genuine flavour — this punches well above its price. ★★★★★

HEALTH Because it doesn’t specify natural, the “flavour” here is probably achieved through the addition of artificial chemical “flavouring”. This product contains several industrial ingredients you won’t find in your nonna’s recipe: vegetable “fibres”, whey powder, dehydrated potato. Since the eggs don’t say free-range, we can assume they’re from caged hens. No stars

£1.99/250g; morrisons.com

Dell’Ugo organic leaf spinach and ricotta ravioli

TASTE The pasta is rubbery, but the inside is creamy and the addition of hard cheese to the ricotta brings a pleasantly salty tang. ★★★

HEALTH Reasonably authentic ingredients, such as 00 flour, although instead of the anonymous medium-fat hard cheese listed, I’d like the real thing: full-fat Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano. Free-range eggs — bravo! There’s a lot of semolina in this recipe (second ingredient listed), which might be why tasters found it “rubbery”. ★★★

£2.99/250g; ocado.co.uk

Waitrose Menu spinach and ricotta ravioli

TASTE These ravioli are enormous and floppy, but the filling is a vibrant green with attractive chunks of ricotta. Plus there’s a cleansing and refreshing note of nutmeg. ★★★★

HEALTH Using salted ricotta isn’t traditional any more than mascarpone is, but it boosts the flavour of the other unspecified cheeses in this product. The more generous quantity of spinach (16%) explains the fresher taste. A pat on the back for free-range eggs, but at this price, why aren’t we getting proper 00 flour? ★★★

£3.99/250g; waitrose.com

Biona Organic green tortelloni with cheese and spinach

TASTE Wholesome-looking packaging belies an earthy, cardboard-tasting pasta that dominates a parsimonious filling. Suggested cooking time of 10-12 minutes means the tortelloni become laden with water and turn to mush. ★

HEALTH Wholewheat pasta is always a stomach sinker. Not a lot is Italian about this recipe — cream cheese instead of ricotta, the inclusion of potato and breadcrumbs, and there’s hardly any spinach (2.7%). On health and environmental grounds, the use of organic ingredients is commendable, but Biona should go back to the drawing board with the recipe. ★

£2.59/250g; goodnessdirect.co.uk

Tesco Authentic spinach and ricotta tortelloni

Swells upon cooking, adding a gungy texture to an already alarmingly pale filling. Worse still, you’re left with an unpalatable metallic aftertaste. ★★

HEALTH In this skinflint recipe, a mean amount of ricotta (20%) and spinach (3%) is padded out with cheap ingredients such as milk proteins, dried garlic and spinach “powder”. What is margarine (made from environmentally ruinous palm oil) doing in an Italian recipe? Authentic it isn’t, and the eggs are from caged hens. Un disastro! No stars

£1.30/250g; tesco.com

Feast or famine: children’s lunchboxes

Yumbox Panino
Practical and fun, this box is leakproof, so you can pile veg and dips straight in. There are healthy-food suggestions on the base and a tiny sweet compartment for a treat. Worth the price. £25; notonthehighstreet.com

Sistema Lunch Tub
Cheap and cheerful, this comprises one box with a separate compartment sitting on top for snacks. A good-value option — even if it won’t last as long as the more expensive designs. £9; lakeland.co.uk