How to “Have your pasta and eat it!”

            P1020007   

I’ll be honest I’ve never been into calorie counting, it would drive me nuts! I am however a firm believer in exercise accompanied by healthy eating. Food is not only a pleasure for the senses, but fuel for the body. I don’t believe in depriving myself from the odd treat here or there (give me a fluffy piece of home-made cake any day, yum!), but my staples would of course be a balanced diet of lots of fresh fruit and vegetable’s, healthy whole-grains, proteins, good fats and oils, and yes, pasta! Coming from an Italian back ground I’m passionate about pasta, but why does it have such a bad rep worldwide?

 Portion control is clearly the issue here – everything in moderation motto is key.

Portion Control:

The general recommended portion per adult is around 60-70 grams of dried pasta, largely depending on how rich the sauce is. My favorite and trusty reliable would be the humble tomato sauce. Olive oil, garlic, fresh basil or rosemary, onion and tomatoes (canned or freshly chopped), a bit of salt and pepper and grated Parmigiano. That’s it! You would be amazed at how many nutritious sauces you can make from vegetables, beans, and herbs,…etc.

3 Reasons Why You Should Eat Pasta:

  1. Complex Carbohydrate: The body needs a constant supply of carbohydrates for maintenance, growth and movement. It’s the main source of energy.  Pasta is a complex carbohydrate…a necessary component in keeping a supply of our body’s glycogen (energy).  In controlled amounts it provides plenty of fiber (especially with whole-wheat) filling you up enough to resist the temptation to dig into the “naughty” cupboard.
  2. Economical & “Family Friendly”: Pasta is a staple in my house. It provides an economical yet nutritious meal for the whole family.  I love it, my husband loves it and best of all my 3 little munchkins love it.  I would say we eat it about 3 times a week, generally sticking to the healthier sauces, by using lots of fresh vegetables and herbs, topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. My children aren’t really fussy eaters and would generally not have a problem with vegetables (phew) but this is another great way to disguise veggies for picky eaters.
  3. Nutritious & Fast to Prepare: Best of all, it’s fast to make when you have to throw dinner together in a hurry. It’s fantastic, family friendly, fuel for the body, food — to include in your balanced diet!

 

Here is my very basic “Tomato & Rosemary” sauce with pasta recipe in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: “The Sugo” (sauce)

Chop onions, garlic, and fresh rosemary (one of my essential garden herbs) and saute in a little bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add freshly chopped tomatoes, chopped canned tomato’s, or passata and simmer. If using fresh tomatoes or chopped canned I would cook them for about 10-15 minutes. Passata only needs a few minutes. 

Step 2: “The Pasta”

Boil a big pot of water adding only salt (no oil please) for flavor. When the water is boiling throw in the pasta and cook till “Al Dente”. Save a couple of tablespoons of the water to add later.

Step 3: “Pasta marries Sugo”

Add your “al dente” pasta and reserved water to your sauce letting it simmer for a bit so that the pasta soaks up the delicious “sugo”. You can add a bit of grated Parmigiano Regiano or Grana Padano (no “Italian Style” cheese from a can please…it’s just not the same thing!) to the sauce now, and/or add later. Add some salt, pepper, and Olive Oil to taste, and it’s ready!

Quick tip: It’s safer to take the pasta from the boiling water more when “under-cooked” rather than “cooked” as you can always cook it longer in the sauce if necessary. There is nothing worse than, stodgy, over-cooked pasta!

Go on, it’s okay…you can “Have your pasta, and eat it!” Enjoy….but please remember “portion control!”

xx Lara

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