Imagine a big bowl of your favorite pasta. Hearty sauce over a bed of perfectly cooked pasta noodles, and toppings of your choice. Sure, a big bowl of spaghetti is delicious comfort food. For many folks, it’s a quick and very affordable go-to to feed a lot of hungry mouths at the dinner table. But, did you know that some pasta can really take a toll on your nutritional health?
It’s no surprise that pasta is loaded with carbs. Not the good kind either. And let’s not forget the saturated fats and cholesterol in alfredo and meat sauce. Finally, we don’t often think about added sugars in store-bought jars of sauce. There is good news though! There are healthy pasta alternatives. Quick meals that are filling and easy on a budget. And just because it’s low carb and low in saturated fats doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.
Here’s a great recipe, great for adults and kids alike. It’s cholesterol-free, rich in fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
5 mins to prep
20 mins to cook
25 min cooking time
Serves 5 to 6
1 lb box of whole wheat pasta
1 tablespoon regular olive oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Extra olive oil to drizzle
1 cup cherry tomatoes (washed, halved)
3 cloves of garlic
Salt, garlic powder, pepper to taste
Cilantro to garnish
Large pot to boil water
At least a 12-inch skillet about 2 inches deep. Larger is preferred, you’ll be cooking the sauce and mixing the pasta in this
Smaller pan to toast the tomatoes
Tip: It’s always a good idea to have all your ingredients prepped beforehand. You don’t want to get started and reach for an ingredient that isn’t there.
Prepping the ingredients
Mince 3 cloves of garlic and set aside
Wash and halve the tomatoes, and dry with paper towels.
Rinse 2 or 3 sprigs of cilantro under cold water and set aside
Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil for 1 lb of pasta. In my experience cooking whole-grain spaghetti uncovered for about 10 mins should make a good al dente. Use this as a rough guideline for time, but the instructions are there on the box to help you out! Strain and SAVE THE WATER. You’ll need it for the sauce.
Tip: Set a timer.
Tip: Adding a few pinches of salt to the boiling water and stirring every minute or so helps prevent sticking
Note: Stovetops vary. Use judgment and adjust if need be.
While the pasta is cooking, heat up 1 tbsp of regular olive oil (or high smoke point oil) over medium-high heat. toast tomatoes skin side down. It should only take 3 minutes. Remember the idea is to toast, not burn. Set the tomatoes aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Don’t go too high since extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point. Sautee the garlic until it just starts to brown (about 3 mins) and add the toasted tomatoes. Continue to sautee until the tomatoes shrink to about 2/3 their original size. About 10 minutes.
Keep ahold of that pasta water! Add about 2 cups to pan and stir. Turn heat up to medium. The starches in the water will help thick the sauce. If you forgot, you can use a corn starch slurry sparring. Add salt and garlic powder to taste.
Once the sauce thickens up (about 3 mins) add the pasta, stir for 1 minute and transfer to a serving dish.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and top with freshly cracked black pepper. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve!
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