Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Heart Healthy Pasta With Quick Tomato Sauce

Barilla has come out with a new brand of pasta called Barilla Plus. It's a multigrain pasta that includes lentils, chickpeas, egg whites, spelt, barley, flaxseed, oat fiber and oats.

Wow! Talk about healthy. You've got your egg whites and legumes for higher protein, barley and oats which raise soluble fiber and my very favorite, flaxseed, for those ever-important omega-3s. This is a pasta I can get behind.

All that heart-healthy goodness plus it tastes good! Really, it does. Paired with my super-easy and quite-healthy-and-delicious-if-I-say-so-myself tomato sauce, this dish was ready and plated in about 1/2 hour. And while I added chicken this time, I would omit it the next time I make this sauce, it's that good on its own.
This is my entry for HOTM3, Ilva and Joanna's blog for heart healthy recipes, The Heart of the Matter - Eating for Life. This month the theme is pasta, on the light side. No heavy creams or butter sauces, thank you.

Not only is this sauce light of fat, it's also packed with lycopene from the canned tomatoes and the anti-oxident goodness of onions and lots of garlic. Fresh basil leaves round out the flavors beautifully.

I call this a pantry pasta because most of the ingredients came out of my cupboards. Sometimes dinner is like that.

Christine's Quick Pantry Pasta
Christine's original recipe
1 box multigrain pasta, I used Barilla Plus rotini
1 sweet onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large can Muir Glen Organic fire-roasted whole tomatoes
1 regular size can Muir Glen Organic tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Italian tomato paste
1 glass jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 can chunky chicken, optional (mine came from Costco)
fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
good olive oil
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper (I use tellicherry)
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until it has a good feel to you when you bite into a piece. A bit more than al dente.
Drain pasta, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, stir, cover and keep in a warm place.
In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
Add chopped onions and saute until soft.
Add chopped garlic and saute 2 minutes. Do not allow to burn.
Add canned whole tomatoes, breaking them up a bit with the back of a spoon.
Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to blend. Turn heat to a simmer.
Add the artichoke hearts, chicken and fresh basil. Give it a stir and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Season the sauce to taste with just a bit of salt and generous grindings of freshly ground pepper.
To serve, place warm pasta on oven-warmed plates and spoon sauce over, being sure to get a sampling of all the goodies.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and a light dusting of freshly-grated parmesan reggiano.

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