Monday, December 7, 2009

Quick, Cheap, Healthy and EASY Pasta Dish

Everyone I know right now is a little crunched for time and money. With the festive season upon us, it's hard to eat right, stay on a budget and get something good on the table in a short amount of time. All that shopping and gift wrapping, not to mention the decorating and baking, can take a toll on your wallet and your waistline!

Here's a quick and easy recipe that fits the bill. It's not hard to make, very inexpensive and good for you, too. It borrows from the flavors of the antipasto platter but minimizes the calories. I usually make a dish like this as a side dish, but adding a few slices of procuitto made it a satisfying entree for my meat loving husband. I love the new high fiber pastas in this dish -- makes you feel less guilty for eating a plate full! I adapted this recipe from one in Cooking Light and blended it with my own recipe to suit our tastes. It's a forgving recipe, you could easily add in any veggies you like., but here's a nice starting point.

Eliminate the red pepper if your family doesn't like spicy things. The recommended 1 tsp. will only a little "kick" and not be overwhelming. If you're feeling chicken, try adding 1/2 tsp. at first and then taste it.

"Antipasto" Penne
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. olive oil

1/2 med. onion, chopped

1 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes

1 red pepper, roasted and chopped

1 T. oregano
1 T. basil

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 c. black olives

1 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

4 thin slices prociutto, chopped up

8 oz. high fiber penne pasta, such as Healthy Options or Smart Choice

1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided use

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat broiler. Cut bell pepper in half, lengthwise. Clean out all the seed and cut out the stem. Place pepper on a foil lined baking sheet and flatten with your hand. Broil for about 8 minutes or until pepper is blackened. Place it in a zip lock bag, seal it and let steam 5 minutes. Scrape off the skin with a knife and chop it.

While pepper is broiling, put olive oil on low in a large non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic, and saute' until soft, about 5 minutes. Don't burn the garlic!

Add tomatoes, spices and red pepper, and cook this mixture for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When you add the pasta to the boiling water, add the black olives and artichokes to the tomato sauce. Bring it up to a boil, then turn it down to your lowest heat and add the procuitto. Add a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Go light on the salt as the ham and the cheese are both very salty!

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain it well and add it to the sauce mixture, mixing well. Add in half of your grated cheese, Mix well. Serve plates and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Enjoy!

We had ours with a leafy green salad and some homemade bread, Sunday dinner comfort food at it's very best! A nice glass of inexpensive Cabernet rounded out the meal.

1 comment:

The Cook said...

Sounds yummy! I am sick and laid low today...watched Julie and Julia. Such a cute film!!