Weekend Delights: Where's the Pasta?

Let me start by simply saying the following: Carbohydrates are NOT the devil, are the best source of energy for your body and DO NOT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN! You need to realise that you gain weight when you consume too many calories, whether they are from carbohydrates, fats or proteins. So when friends, colleagues or family members embark on a craze of low carb diets (to an extreme), remember this:

  • Weight loss is mainly water and not body fat

  • Calories are restricted

  • It is not sustainable

So why no get reacquainted? Here’s a list of some low fat, yummy pasta recipes to add to your lunch or dinner menu. For those who are gluten intolerant, like myself, you can substitute normal for gluten free pasta.  (Recipes courtesy of www.taste.com.au: My favourite recipe database)

Penne with pumpkin, spinach and ricotta (Serves 4) penne

  • 500g peeled pumpkin, cut into 1-2cm cubes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 400g wholemeal penne
  • 1 leek (white part only), cleaned, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 125g low-fat ricotta
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Toss pumpkin and 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl and place on a baking tray. Roast for 15 minutes or until tinged golden.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until al dente.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a large frypan over medium-low heat, add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until soft.
  5. Add garlic and cook for a further minute, then add spinach and remove from heat. Drain pasta and add to pan with leek mixture. Add pumpkin and toss to combine.
  6. Serve sprinkled with ricotta and freshly cracked black pepper.

Creamy salmon and mushroom fettuccine (Serves 4) pasta salmon and broccoli

    • Olive oil spray, to grease

  • 1 leek, pale section only, washed, dried, halved, thinly sliced
  • 200g Swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 3cm lengths
  • 1 bunch broccolini, cut into 3cm lengths
  • 3 tsp cornflour
  • 1 x 375ml can low fat evaporated milk
  • 300g dried fettuccine pasta
  • 1 x 415g can pink salmon, drained, flaked
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh continental parsley
  1. Spray a non-stick saucepan with olive oil spray to grease. Place over medium heat. Add the leek and mushroom and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Cook, covered, for a further 5 minutes or until the leek is soft.
  2. Add the asparagus and broccolini and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes or until bright green and tender crisp. Place the cornflour in a small bowl. Stir in enough milk to form a smooth paste. Add the remaining milk and stir until well combined. Add the cornflour mixture to the mushroom mixture and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens and comes to the boil.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions or until al dente. Drain and return to the pan.
  4. Add the mushroom mixture, salmon and parsley to the pasta. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss until well combined. Divide the pasta among serving bowls and serve immediately.

Lentil, olive and pumpkin lasagne (Serves 4-5) lentil lasagne

  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 400g pumpkin, cooked, pureed
  • 415g can lentils, drained
  • 2 x 425g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 sheets fresh lasagne (100g total)
  • 60g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • rocket leaves, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Spray with oil. Add onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until coloured.
  2. Add garlic, wine, pumpkin, lentils, tomatoes, olives and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon quarter of lentil mixture into a 5cm deep, 20cm x 20cm ovenproof dish. Top with a lasagne sheet. Repeat twice with lentil mixture and lasagne. Spread remaining lentil mixture over lasagne.
  4. Sprinkle top with feta. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through. Stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve topped with rocket.

Happy Weekend to all!

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