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Less Fat, Still Ono

By Barbara Burke
and Joannie Dobbs

Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Tasty pasta doesn’t
need lot of oil

Of all the Italian eateries around town, what makes a restaurant stand out?

Many restaurants serve pasta, a lowfat item, and tomato-based sauces which contain the naturally-occurring antioxidant lycopene. But too many restaurants only offer pasta dishes that use more olive oil than may be healthful.

Olive oil is 100 percent fat (14 percent of that is saturated fat) and contains 120 calories per tablespoon.

In searching for a good pasta that won't "break your heart," we found a marinara dish at Harpo's Pizza and Pasta restaurants. Owner Mike Trombetta says, "A good marinara sauce should automatically be low in fat when you use high- quality products. By using a flavorful extra-virgin olive oil, you can use less oil, yet still achieve a product with maximum flavor." When you saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, then add oregano and basil, you're really flavoring the oil.

Harpo's recipes are prepared using "fresh packed," whole, peeled Roma or pear-shaped tomatoes. Using fresh packed tomatoes that are canned within six hours of harvesting ensures a tomato product that is sweet, not acidic tasting.

Harpo's recipe for marinara sauce is extremely versatile. You can use the sauce as a base for many recipes, such as seafood stew or vegetarian pasta.

Trombetta recommends using Hunt's brand of fresh-packed, pear-shaped tomatoes and Del Monte tomato sauce. If these brands are not available, you may want to add a pinch or two of sugar to the sauce to balance the tomato acidity.

Harpo's Pizza and Pasta restaurants locations include Kapahulu Avenue, Bishop Square, Windward Mall and three Daiei stores.

Harpo's Marinara Sauce

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/16 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry basil
42 ounces canned peeled, pear-shaped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar (if desired)
8 ounces canned tomato sauce
Fresh basil bouquet garni

Cover the bottom of an 8-inch saute pan with olive oil. Turn the burner to high, until tiny bubbles appear in the oil.

Add onions and garlic and stir with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle Kosher salt evenly over onions, then sprinkle with black pepper and dry basil.

Reduce heat to low. Be careful to prevent burning. Stirring lightly with a wooden spoon, saute onions until translucent.

For fullest flavor, saute onions half way, then turn heat off and let the onion-oil combination develop for 5 minutes. Heat again until onions are just translucent. Do not let the onions carmelize.

Lightly chop tomatoes, being careful not to crush seeds. (This will prevent tomatoes from becoming acidic). Place tomatoes in a large pot and add sauteed onions. If too acidic, add sugar. Bring to a slow simmer, stir, and let reduce (for about 1 hour). Add canned tomato sauce to hasten thickening; stir.

For bouquet garni place basil in a piece of cheesecloth and place in the pot (attach to pot handle with a string). Remove from heat and let cool. Serve over cooked pasta. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving using 8 ounces cooked pasta: 530 calories, 16 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 900 mg sodium*

Health Events

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who has been teaching
and writing about food and nutrition since 1975.

Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., is a food and nutrition consultant
and owner of Exploring New Concepts, a nutritional consulting firm.
She is also responsible for the nutritional analyses
indicated by an asterisk in this section.

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