A Slice of Southern Italy in Teesside - Fresh, Homemade Pasta From The Next Meal* #AD

10 Jul 2020



One good thing that came from coronavirus was the amount of people taking the leap to start their own business. It felt like every other day that someone new would pop up with a new food biz, a consultation service, online classes or even homemade bath bombs and wax melts. And they all deserve a huge round of applause for finding some light in the darkness that was lockdown, but one new business that particularly caught my eye was The Next Meal. After a little follow on Instagram and a stalk through their photos, I was hooked and needed to know more!

You guys know me, I'm a mega foodie, but I definitely always haven't been. I bet you didn't know that when I was younger, I had such an aversion to pasta after a few nasty run ins from eating spaghetti? To this day, I still can't eat a plate of spaghetti bolognese without feeling a little bit queasy, but I'm pleased to report that all other pasta in its various shapes and sizes is fine and I can eat it no problem. And it's a good thing too because I was absolutely hankering for some pasta from The Next Meal!

'What is The Next Meal?' you may be asking, and if you're from Teesside, you're in luck because this is a brand-spanking new small biz based in Yarm. Owned by Daniele, a professional chef from Naples who moved to Yarm, this indie offers gorgeous, restaurant-quality Italian pasta on your doorstep. I'm talking about fresh, homemade egg pasta, sensational sauces, plus a whole host of extra sides, such as pickled aubergines and basque-style cheesecake (which we'll get into in just a little while). It's the perfect biz to explore if you're fancying the restaurant experience from home and when our box of goodies arrived, right at the start of my house move, we were about ready to unwind with a dish of top notch food.


The way that The Next Meal works is you take a look at the menu, choose the sauce that whets your appetite the most, then choose an accompanying pasta. Just ping a message over to Daniele and boom, your order will be in the bag! All you need to do then is pay the very reasonable price and wait for that knock on the door. You'll get your pasta presented in a box, like you see above, a hefty jar of sauce, a pot of parmesan cheese, plus anything else that you may have ordered.

Now, it took me by total surprise when Daniele messaged me to offer up a box of pasta - I'd been sniffing around The Next Meal's Instagram, just to see what they were all about, and I was certain that I'd been caught red-handed. But I was pretty excited to learn that he wanted me to try his food out and I couldn't wait to scour the menu!

Immediately, I knew I wanted to give the Beef Brisket Ragu* a try. "Traditionally served with gnocchi, this super-rich tomato ragu is slow-cooked with beef brisket, making for a robust, meaty sauce." You can't tell me that doesn't sound absolutely divine? When it came to the pasta, there was much more deliberation involved. Did we want to have gnocchi as the sauce description suggested? We had been trying a lot more recipes with gnocchi at the time, so this seemed like a sensible option, but what about the tagliatelle? Could my spaghetti-phobic brain look past that similar, slurpable style? There was only one way to find out! With Tagliatelle* ordered, all that was left to do was count down the days until our perfectly hand crafted treats arrived, and we certainly weren't disappointed when we feasted our eyes on the delivery.

When I say that Daniele is a chef from Naples, that automatically means that he's going to be amazing at cooking. But Naples is known for being the foodie heart of Southern Italy, with its fresh seafood, the world famous Neapolitan pizzas and, of course, the incredible pasta dishes, which just adds another string The Next Meal's bow. So it's fair to say that the food we received from this indie biz was absolutely nothing short of amazing.

Everything was packaged up perfectly with zero mess whatsoever. This even includes the pot of parmesan, which is a fantastic touch and truly adds to the restaurant experience that The Next Meal provides. The pasta was split into four spirals within the box, making it easier to cook and the jar of Beef Brisket Ragu transported me to my mum's kitchen, and watching her spoon pans full of homemade goodness into jars for family and friends. And it's that fuzzy feeling of eating something homemade that you get from The Next Meal's dishes that really seals the deal for me.


I'm not sure how you can go wrong with pasta, but just in case, Daniele provides instructions with every order, but trust me, it's extremely simple. Within 10 minutes, we had rustled up the dish that you can see in the photo above and let me tell you, it tasted just as good as it looked. The portions of pasta were huge (and in hindsight, maybe this box could have fed four, but Matthew and I snaffled the whole thing up to ourselves), but it all cooked beautifully in the same pan. We didn't have any problems with sticking or crunchy bits - it was cooked gorgeously all the way through.

The sauce also stirred through completely evenly and there were no sort of unwanted lumps - it was just, and I know I've said this a lot throughout this post but it's true I tell ya, perfect. The tomatoey base covered everything with a flavoursome veil, while the meat was studded throughout, and gave a contrasting taste and texture. It was absolutely lush!

Oh, and that cheesecake I mentioned earlier? Daniele snuck two pieces into my parcel, which was a complete surprise, but it was one that I definitely wasn't mad about. Now, I'd never tried basque-style cheesecake* before, so I was shocked to see that it didn't have a signature biscuit base, but was instead, a light, baked cheesecake that was similar to the classic New York dessert. This is a pud from Spain, so not strictly Italian (I won't tell if you don't), but it's the most gorgeous thing to have after your pasta. I seriously wish I managed to get a photo before I wolfed it down, but honestly, it was too good to wait! Make sure you try yours with berries and a splash of cream.

If you've been looking for a bit of an upgrade to your usual Teesside takeaway, The Next Meal may be what you're looking for. His homemade food is priced more than fairly and, in my opinion, some restaurants would charge more for something that isn't as good quality. He's super friendly and willing to answer any questions, so if you fancy a chat before putting your order in, definitely don't hesitate! 

While we may not have the sun, sea and stunning vistas of Southern Italy, The Next Meal has definitely brought the flavours a little bit closer to Teesside.


All items that are marked with a * have been sent to me or gifted for review purposes.

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