Monday, March 26, 2012

in the kitchen: healthy pasta!

are you on the mailing list for fab, fit, fun? it's giuliana rancic's daily email which includes the latest on fashion, accessories, workouts, and the occasional recipe.  a while ago i received an email with a recipe for a healthy, low calorie pasta, which for a carb-o like me, sounded too good to be true! so, i of course tried the recipe that weekend.  it was o-k....but was seriously missing something. and shawn was not a fan because it definitely tasted too healthy for his liking!

i was craving pasta last night and thought i would give this recipe a try again, but perhaps add a little something to fill in the missing flavors.

Penne and Asparagus with Ricotta Cheese

1 box of fiber-enriched penne pasta (Alexander suggests Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate)
1 pound trimmed asparagus, cut into 2-inch diagonal pieces
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese (Alexander suggests Precious)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste, optional

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting any oil or butter.
2. Two to four minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus to the water (two minutes for thin spears, four minutes for thick).
3. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in a small bowl. Drain the pasta.
4. Meanwhile, add the garlic, ricotta, and olive oil to a large serving bowl. As soon as the pasta is drained, mix in 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water.
5. Immediately add the pasta and asparagus and gently toss until the pasta and asparagus are coated with the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss again.
6. If the mixture seems too dry, add more reserved pasta water, about 1/4 cup at a time, until no longer dry.
7. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta. If desired, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings. Each serving (about 2 cups) has 318 cals, 15g protein, 60g carbohydrates, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 18mg cholesterol, 9g fiber, 183mg sodium.

while gathering all the listed ingredients, i noticed my grocer was completely sold out of asparagus!  um, what?! must be a hot item this time of year! so i thought i would substitute it with two of my other favorite green veggies: green beans, and broccoli.  i threw in more than two cups, cuz i just can't get enough of the green stuff! i also added in a pinch more garlic than this calls for; a decent amount of salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese, and i also added in some of our home grown herbs: fresh basil, oregano, and parsley!

it turned out so much better this time around & i would highly recommend trying it.  don't be afraid to change a recipe to your liking. that's what i love about cooking & trying out new recipes. you can add more of what you like and substitute different ingredients to make something unique and different!

(find the original recipe here)

bon appetite :)


1 comment:

  1. Where to do keep your herbs? I have seeds for basil and parsley but I just don't know where to grow them! :-/ I have a BLACK thumb not a green thumb that is for sure!