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Lean pasta sauces.

They rely on fresh vegetables and herbs . . . not butter and oil

PLAIN PASTA HAS the virtue of being low in calories and fat. But the lavish sauces and generous amounts of cheese that often accompany it can send waist-watchers running for the scales.

Good alternatives are sauces that rely on flavors developed with vegetables and herbs, but no butter or oil.

Try curly pasta with a sauce of bell peppers, herbs, and capers; garbanzos boost the protein. Lima beans do the same for spaghetti; seasoned spaghetti squash is the foundation of its sauce.

If you want to add a little parmesan, sprinkle it on pasta at serving time to get the full effect of its flavor.

Slim Red and Green Pasta

About 2 1/2 pounds (8 medium-size) red bell peppers or fresh pimientos; or jars or cans (20 to 21 oz. total) roasted red peppers or whole or sliced pimientos

1 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 can (about 1 lb.) reduced-sodium garbanzos, drained

3/4 cup chopped fresh or 1/4 cup dried basil leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves

3 tablespoons drained canned capers

1 pound dried curly pasta such as armoniche or rotelle

Salt and pepper

Place fresh bell peppers in a 10- by 15-inch pan. Broil about 3 inches below heat, turning until skins are blackened all over, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool, then pull off skins, remove stems, and rinse off seeds. (Drain and seed canned peppers.)

Finely chop peppers in a food processor or with a knife. Place in a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat with onions, garbanzos, basil, tarragon, and capers; stir often until steaming, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a 5- to 6-quart pan 3/4 full of water; cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, until barely tender to bite, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain pasta and pour into a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon pepper mixture onto pasta. Mix to serve; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

Per serving: 299 cal. (6 percent from fat); 12 g protein; 2 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 60 g carbo.; 198 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Svelte Spaghetti with Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, about 2 1/2 pounds

1 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1 package (10 oz.) frozen baby lima beans

2 tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 quarts lightly packed rinsed and drained spinach leaves, sliced into 1/3-inch-wide strips

12 ounces dried spaghetti

Salt and pepper

Pierce squash shell in several places. Place in a shallow pan slightly larger than squash. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 |degrees~ oven until shell gives readily when pressed, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

(Or, to cook in a microwave oven, halve squash lengthwise; remove seeds. Line oven with microwave-safe plastic wrap; lay squash cut side down on plastic. Cook, uncovered, at full power--100 percent--for 5 minutes; rotate pieces 1/2 turn. Continue cooking, rotating every 5 minutes, until squash gives to fingertip pressure, 10 to 15 minutes longer.)

Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash from shell, using a fork to loosen strands; put in a 3- to 4-quart pan. Stir in broth, limas, thyme, and peel. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until limas are tender to bite, about 5 minutes; stir often. Add spinach; cover and cook until leaves wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a 5- to 6-quart pan 3/4 full of water. Cover; bring to a boil over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook, uncovered, until barely tender to bite, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Gently mix in squash mixture. Pour into a bowl. Add salt, pepper to taste. Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving: 207 cal. (6.5 percent from fat); 8.8 g protein; 1.5 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 40 g carbo.; 79 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Johnson, Elaine
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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