Pasta Super Food ?

Pasta Super Food ?  In a recent blog “Is Pasta Healthy For You” we explored some of the most recent nutrition science and discovered that Pasta is indeed VERY healthy for you when prepared extra firm or AL DENTE.  We outlined the most recent finding about how healthy The Mediterranean Diet is based on the most complete human health study ever done, the Nurse’s Health Study, and how Pasta is a big part of it.  How extra firm/al dente pasta falls low on the Glycemic Index.  And we told you that when you combined Pasta with vegetables and or protein it has the potential to be even healthier.  It’s the right combination and technique that makes Pasta a Super Food. And it’s well worth the effort to learn how. So, yes, Pasta is a Super Food!

Here’s one “Super Food” traditional Italian recipe that you can make within twenty minutes all in one pot.  Fast, very inexpensive, extremely nutritious, and so flavorful you will think someone conked you over the head and you were eating in a small village restaurant in Italy.

Pasta and Broccoli – Serves 4  (20 minutes!)

  • Fresh broccoli florets 1.5lbs
  • Garlic 4 medium gloves – chopped fine
  • Fresh, extra ripe tomatoes – 3 tomatoes (or 1cup of canned crushed tomatoes)
  • 3/4 pound dry, 100% semolina pasta (rigatoni is great for this)
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Sweet White Wine
  • Grated Cheese – either Pecorino Romano or Parmiggiano-Reggiano

I get home, drop my laptop and papers on the desk and immediately fill a large 4 quart, high sided pan with water and add two to three tablespoons of sea salt to the water and set it on a high heat with a cover.  Next I undress and get into my cooking outfit: very casual clothes and my red “Dolly Sinatra Lodge, Order of Sons of Italy in America, Palm Springs, CA” apron.  By the time I have undressed the water is almost at a boil.

Next step is to wash the broccoli florets in cold water.  Once they are clean drop them in the now boiling water and, bring it back to a boil and blanche them for just thirty seconds.  Immediately extract the broccoli florets from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl.

Keep the water in which you’ve cooked the broccoli boiling and add the 3/4 pound of rigatoni pasta.

While the pasta is boiling chop 4 cloves of garlic extra fine and cube the three ripe tomatoes into very small sections.

Check the rigatoni after four minutes to see if it is still firm.  Cook until it is chewy, but still firm and drain immediately.

Now, take the same pot and put it back onto a high heat with three tablespoons of olive oil.  Sauté the finely chopped garlic until it is nice and brown, then add the tomatoes and stir briskly, always at the highest heat possible.  When the tomatoes have started to sizzle (about two minutes) add 1 cup of sweet white wine (Asti Spumanti is perfect for this) and watch it steam until all the alcohol is gone.  Add two pinches of salt, an ample amount coarsely ground pepper and stir again.  Add the well drained broccoli florets and stir.  Now add the rigatoni to this mixture and toss it like you were tossing a salad.  Reach into the middle with two large spoons toss and toss until everything is covered in the mixture and the gluten has started to thicken the sauce.  Remove from the heat and serve.

Dust it with ample amounts of grated cheese and a bit more coarse black pepper and stir.  The broccoli florets are still firm having cooked a total of about three minutes.  This way they not only retain flavor but essential nutrients.

Written by Dino Romano, former Pasta Channel Italian Food Blogger, Italian Cook Extraordinaire,
Entrepreneur and Raconteur. Has taken Kyle Phillips (former Principle/Blogger for the
Guide to Italian Food) to task on several supposedly “authentic” Italian recipes.

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