Creating a perfectly balanced pasta meal fits well within the parameters of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the My Pyramid Food Guidance system. As the low-carb diet craze fades, it is time to reconsider the grain. Grain products, such as pasta, offer many vital nutrients.

Trying to eat three or more servings of whole grains each day may seem like another major hurdle for some people, especially since the average American now gets only one.  But the goal is to replace refined grains with whole-grain products and decrease the consumption of refined grains by two or three servings.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends giving whole grains a prominent place at the table. New research shows that whole grains have powerful antioxidants – cancer-fighting agents – that have gone undocumented for years.

The New American Plate approach to eating, created by AICR, fills at least 2/3 of the plate with a variety of plant-based foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans – and leaves the remaining 1/3 (or less) of the plate for animal protein. At the same time, the New American Plate remodels meals so they are higher in fiber and lower in fat and calories than the traditional American meal.

Anyone who considers Italian to be their favorite cuisine can feel good about eating the Italian way while benefiting from a healthy diet and lifestyle. The Italian lifestyle is defined by a love of good food, a passion for flavor, and a vibrant lifestyle. Eating and living Italian style is a way of life that can be enjoyed anywhere, all year around.

Though Italian culture emphasizes eating for enjoyment, the Italian diet also happens to be one of the healthiest in the world. The Italian eating style incorporates fresh, wholesome foods that are rich in nutrients and low in unhealthy fats.

Italian cooking is much easier than many people think. Most pasta dishes are fast and easy to prepare. Some people might think of pasta as fettuccine smothered in fat-laden cream sauce, but traditional pasta meals are fresh, light, and easy to put together with nutritious, seasonal ingredients. Pasta is a perfect delivery system to get many healthy foods in your diet — such as a variety of colorful vegetables, tomato sauce, olive oil, fish and lean cuts of poultry. And pasta is low in sodium and cholesterol-free, as well as a good source of thiamin, folic acid, iron, riboflavin and niacin.

Pasta also ranks among children’s favorite foods. Experiment with different variations on pasta meals to keep dinnertime interesting and healthy. For many more authentic pasta meal recipes as well as tips on eating, cooking and living the Italian way, visit the new Barilla America website at www.barillaus.com.

 

Farfalle With Chicken and Chard (photo sent)

Serves 4–6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ends removed and leaves torn

1 cup chicken broth

1 box Barilla Farfalle

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

 

Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, onion, pepper and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes.

Fill large pot with lightly salted water and bring to boil.

Add chard to skillet and vegetables and stir, mixing thoroughly until wilted.

Add chicken broth and remaining salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is cooked through.

While broth is heating, cook farfalle. Drain and return to pot.

Add chicken mixture to hot farfalle; toss. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with cheese and chopped parsley.

Courtesy of Barilla Pasta

 

 

Spaghetti with Salsa Cruda

1 1/4 lb. ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced  (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat parsley
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
3/4 lb. whole-grain spaghetti
Freshly ground pepper

 

In a glass, ceramic, or plastic bowl, combine the tomatoes with the salt, onion and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water and cook the spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Drain the spaghetti and turn it into a large, warm serving bowl. Toss the pasta with the remaining tablespoon of oil to keep it from sticking together.

Mix the parsley and basil into the tomatoes. Season generously with pepper. Pour the salsa cruda over the warm pasta. Toss the entire mixture to blend well. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

 

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole (photo sent)

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Celery Soup  (regular or 98% fat free)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup cooked peas

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento (optional)

2 cans (about 6 ounces each) tuna, drained and flaked

2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles

2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

 

Mix soup, milk, peas, pimiento, tuna and noodles in 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Stir. Mix bread crumbs with butter. Sprinkle on top. Bake 5 minutes or until hot. Serves 4

Courtesy of Campbell’s Red and White Soups

 

 

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs

3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces whole wheat penne, freshly cooked

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese to taste

 

In a bowl large enough to hold the pasta, combine first eight ingredients.  Add freshly cooked pasta and toss well.  Season with pepper to taste.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

 

Italian Turkey Sausage With Pasta

1 package Honeysuckle White or Shady Brook Farms Hot or Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes with juice, broken up

1 package (16 ounce) penne, rotelle or fusilli pasta, cooked according to package directions

1 cup (8 ounces) Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

 

Slice open package with sharp knife; remove sausage casings. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and tomato; crumble sausage. Cook, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. In large bowl, mix cooked pasta with meat sauce. Top pasta with cheese and serve.

Courtesy of Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms

 

Pasta Presto

4 ounces whole-wheat spiral pasta, such as fusilli or rotini

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 large onion, preferably red, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

12 sun-dried tomato halves, softened in water, drained and minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste

Pinch, dried red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 can (15 ounces) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (6 ounces) light tuna in olive oil, (preferably imported), drained

1 Tablespoons small capers, rinsed and drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Minced flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)

 

Heat a large pot of water over high heat.  When the water boils, stir in the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.   Sauté the onion until translucent, 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until the onion is soft, 3 minutes longer.  Mix in the fresh and sun-dried tomatoes.  Add oregano and pepper flakes to taste.  Mix in the beans, tuna and capers to combine well.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the tuna, until mixture is completely heated through.  Cover and set aside.

Drain the cooked pasta in a colander. Add it to the skillet along with the remaining oil.  Toss and, if desired, garnish with parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

 

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