Friday Night Dinner with Fresco by Scotto

If you watch the Today Show, perhaps you’ve seen a cooking segment with the Scotto Family.  Known for their NYC-area restaurant, the Scottos have made a name for themselves by cooking up delicious Italian feasts.

For those not in the NYC area, you, too, can indulge in the delicious Scotto recipes without lifting a finger—well, other than the ones turning on the oven.

Schwan’s, known for their home delivery service and those boxy yellow delivery trucks, offers Fresco by Scotto. The Fresco line offers a variety of frozen, family style Italian meals, the same ones for which the family is famous.

Always reluctant to go the frozen food route, our family gave Fresco a try, courtesy of Schwan’s. We were treated to the new Baked Ziti, which is part of Fresco by Scotto.  And by the way, when I first opened the package from Schwan’s I was amazed at the packaging; all of the food managed to arrive entirely frozen, including the ice cream they sent for dessert.

This entree, which is said to be a Scotto family recipe, was made with three cheeses (Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan) baked with ziti pasta and a hearty tomato sauce.  Best of all, it was ready in about 30 minutes.

Fresco by Scotto

Obviously, not the healthiest of meals, but I loved the convenience of this alternative to other prepared foods.  It was a delicious change of pace to our Friday night pizza and quite timely for our meatless meal in observance of Lent.

Cooking the food was a breeze. I just threw the meal into the oven and it was done in 30 minutes or so. The cheesy garlic bread was just as easy to pop in the oven for a few minutes. And the broccoli they sent, we steamed it in the microwave for a super-quick side dish.

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The taste of the meal was probably one of the better frozen meals we’ve had—not that that’s saying much, since we don’t have too many of those.  Right out of the oven, the ziti could have passed for a home-cooked meal. The ziti was cheesy and flavorful, just as described.  The sauce, though, lacked the flavor that I’m used to. 

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It was the cheesy garlic bread that was a total family favorite.  My husband described it as the best part of the meal.  It was extremely cheesy, had just enough garlic and crunch, making it almost better than the usual garlic bread that I make myself.

The ice cream, too, was another hit.  Not too chocolatey and not too sweet, Schwan’s ice cream rivaled the taste of the handmade variety we like to indulge in from our local ice cream shop.

Baked Ziti from Fresco by Scotto

Overall, the convenience of Fresco by Scotto from Schwan’s outweighed everything else.  The taste was good, but paled in comparison to the authentic Italian fare that we normally get in the NYC-area.  And while frozen food will never replace the homecooked deliciousness, when pressed for time (or energy) Schwan’s prepared foods, specifically, Fresco by Scotto, is one worth considering.

Full disclosure:  our family was provided a meal to sample for the purpose of this review.

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