THE ELECTRIC KITCHEN
Whole-grain pasta can elevate the taste experience
Pasta is a pantry staple that can easily be thrown together with a few ingredients commonly found in the kitchen and you end up with a dish that has a wow! factor. When making pasta dishes, keep it simple -- you really only need a few ingredients to make a superb dish. Less really is more.
The key is quality ingredients -- especially the olive oil. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get good quality olive, but it makes the difference between a dish that's just OK to simply delicious!
Another key ingredient is, of course, the pasta. Lately, more whole-grain pasta is appearing on the grocery shelves. Many have at least three times more fiber than regular pasta and some brands have omega-3 and higher protein contents.
But "better for you" doesn't do any good if it doesn't taste good. So we tried several brands and were pleasantly surprised to find that several whole-wheat and multigrain pastas make healthy eating a tasty experience.
One brand that we really like is Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest. It cooks up lighter than other whole-wheat pastas, while retaining the great taste and texture of traditional pasta. We suggest you try various brands and we're sure you'll find one that you like just as well or even better than your usual pasta.
Penne Pasta with Eggplant and Tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 long eggplant, sliced
6 to 8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 package (12 ounces) penne pasta, cooked al dente
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, heat oil; add garlic, eggplant and tomatoes. Cook until eggplant is tender.
Stir in basil; pour over pasta and toss well. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 380 calories, 14 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 14 g protein.
Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (about 1 pound) diced tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste
8 ounces angel hair pasta (capellini)
In large skillet, combine garlic and 3 tablespoons oil. Cook on medium heat until garlic is lightly and evenly browned.
Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper; cook until tomatoes are hot.
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions; drain.
Toss pasta with remaining olive oil. Combine with tomato mixture. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 450 calories, 25 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 9 g protein.
Easy Macadamia Nut Pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons roasted, unsalted macadamia nut bits
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 to 3 cloves garlic
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
In food processor, combine basil, nuts, Parmesan cheese and garlic. Process until pured. Add olive oil, a little at a time, and continue to process until a smooth paste forms.
Place pesto in container, covered with thin layer of olive oil. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Serve over chicken, pasta, rice, fish, vegetables or in soup. Makes about 1 cup.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per 1/4 per cup: 160 calories, 16 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 2 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, no sugar, 2 g protein.
Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at www.heco.com