Healthy Italian Cooking at Home

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Whole Grains

Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and nutrients of the entire seed. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.  

LIST OF WHOLE GRAINS

The following are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.

WHOLE WHEAT VS. WHOLE GRAIN

A question that gets asked regularly is, “What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?” The answer is in another question: “What is the difference between a carrot and a vegetable?”
We all know that carrots are vegetables but not all vegetables are carrots. It’s similar with whole wheat and whole grain: Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain, so all whole wheat is whole grain, but not all whole grain is whole wheat.
If you’re reading this in Canada, be aware that Canada has a different regulation for whole wheat flour. Canada allows wheat flour to be called “whole wheat” even when up to 5% of the original kernel is missing. So in Canada you’ll hear two terms used:

  • Whole Wheat Flour in Canada — contains at least 95% of the original kernel
  • Whole Grain Whole Wheat Flour in Canada — contains 100% of the original kernel

“Whole grain whole wheat flour” would be redundant in the U.S.A. — whole wheat flour is always whole grain in the United States. 

Source of Essential Nutrients

The charts below list some of the nutrients that whole grains contribute to a healthy diet, and the proportion of the Daily Value for each.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers a food to be a “good source” of a nutrient if a standard-size serving provides 10% of the recommended daily value; an “excellent source” provides 20% or more than the recommended daily value. We’ve noted when some nutrients in whole grains go even farther above these levels.  Note that a blank, white block does not mean that a particular grain contains none of that nutrient. Very often levels fall just short of reaching the “good source” level – but these foods can still make important contributions to your nutrient needs, in combination with other healthy foods. Whole Grains Council May 2004

A SERVING OF 100% WHOLE GRAIN FOODS

If you enjoy foods made entirely with whole grain, you can follow the suggestions in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, where a serving of whole grain is defined as any of the following:

  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain
  • 1/2 cup cooked 100% whole-wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal
  • 1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain
  • 1 slice 100% whole grain bread
  • 1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin
  • 1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal

The Whole Grains Council has created an official packaging symbol called the Whole Grain Stamp that helps consumers find real whole grain products. The Stamp started to appear on store shelves in mid-2005 and is becoming more widespread every day.The 100% Stamp assures you that a food contains a full serving or more of whole grain in each labeled serving and that ALL the grain is whole grain.

You can easily add whole grains to your meals, often using favorite recipes you’ve always enjoyed. Try some of the following:

MAKE EASY SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes. Or be bold and add up to 20% of another whole grain flour such as sorghum.
  • Replace one third of the flour in a recipe with quick oats or old-fashioned oats.
  • Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffing.
  • Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum or barley to your favorite canned or homemade soup.
  • Use whole corn meal for corn cakes, corn breads and corn muffins.
  • Add three-quarters of a cup of uncooked oats for each pound of ground beef or turkey when you make meatballs, burgers or meatloaf.
  • Stir a handful of rolled oats in your yogurt, for quick crunch with no cooking necessary.

TRY NEW FOODS

  • Make risottos, pilafs and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa or farro.
  • Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh.
  • Buy whole grain pasta, or one of the blends that’s part whole-grain, part white.
  • Try whole grain breads. Kids especially like whole grain pita bread.
  • Look for cereals made with grains like kamut, kasha (buckwheat) or spelt.

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Peppers, Turkey Sausage, and Cheese

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

12 ounces whole wheat or dark spelt* spaghetti (available at some supermarkets and natural food stores)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet Italian turkey sausage link, (about 4 to 5 oz.) casing removed
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 bell peppers (one each red, green, orange, and yellow), cored and sliced
1/2 crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons balsamic or red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, finely diced
Black pepper

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook per package instructions until al dente, then drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and saute, crumbling it with a spatula, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
3. Pour off any fat, then heat the remaining olive oil in the pan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the bell peppers and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft and beginning to brown, 15 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
4. Add the drained pasta and reserved cooking water to the pan and toss over medium heat for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and toss the pasta with the cheese. Season with black pepper and serve.

Notes * Spelt is related to wheat, but it’s higher in protein and vitamins. Its deep, nutty flavor gives pasta and breads a rich taste.

3-Grain Salad with White Beans, Tomatoes, and Parmesan

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup hulled barley*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup farro**
1/4 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 smashed garlic clove
1 cup drained, rinsed cannellini beans
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the barley and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; boil for 30 minutes. Add the farro; boil for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until both grains are tender. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, bring 6 tablespoons of water to a boil in a small saucepan; add the bulgur. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit for 25 minutes, until the water is absorbed.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the vinegar, onion, garlic, and remaining salt.
4. Add the grains to the vinegar mixture while still warm; toss well. Remove the garlic and stir in the beans, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil; season with black pepper to taste. Fold in the Parmesan and serve.

Notes:* With its chewy, pasta-like texture, barley is a great addition to soups and stews. It’s loaded with satisfying protein and fiber.
** A hearty grain with plenty of protein, farro is used in soups and salads. It has a distinct nutty taste.

Spicy Salmon with Olives and Lemon Quinoa

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped scallions
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
1 cup quinoa*, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons pitted, chopped black olives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the scallions and red pepper with the salt and 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.
2. Spray a small roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray and lay the salmon in it skin side down. Cover the fish with the scallion and red pepper mixture. Roast the salmon in the top third of the oven until it is opaque at the center of the thickest part, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa; cover and cook over low heat until the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining olive oil and the pine nuts, olives, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Serve the salmon over the quinoa.

Notes * Technically a seed, quinoa is packed with protein and magnesium, a nutrient that lowers blood pressure. Light and fluffy, quinoa is perfect for salads and side dishes.

Tabbouleh with Feta and Shrimp

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup bulgur*
1 packed cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
8 ounces medium cleaned, shelled, tail-on shrimp, thawed if frozen
1 large pickling cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup crumbled feta

Directions:

1. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the bulgur. Bring the liquid back to a boil and then cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon of the parsley with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, oregano, and mint.
3. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and simmer for 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, then rinse under cool water.
4. Place the bulgur in a serving bowl and toss with the shrimp, cucumber, tomato, scallion, feta, the remaining parsley, and the dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Note:* Bulgur cooks quickly and has a subtle, nutty flavor. Try it in soups, salads, and stuffings or as a substitute for rice.

Creamy Cannellini Bean and Amaranth Soup


Cannellini beans, fresh herbs, and amaranth, a wonderful whole grain thickener,  makes this hearty soup filling enough to be a main dish. For a thick and creamy soup, puree all of the soup rather than leaving half of the beans whole.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons. extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white parts only, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup amaranth
2 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon. sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then add the amaranth grains, stock, bay leaf, and tomato paste and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaf from the amaranth mixture, add 1 cup of the beans, and use a handheld immersion blender to puree in the pot until smooth. (Alternatively, puree the beans in a food processor, add the amaranth mixture – working in batches if necessary – and puree again until smooth, then return to the pot.)

4. Stir in the remaining beans, the herbs, and the salt. Warm gently just to heat through. If desired, thin the soup with additional stock. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Robin Asbell’s The New Whole Grains Cookbook, published by Chronicle Books, has more than 75 recipes that take advantage of the abundance of grains now available in both supermarkets and specialty stores.


You can enjoy foods at a picnic and still walk away with your shorts buttoned. It just means making the right choices—and no, you don’t have to limit yourself to corn on the cob and watermelon. Just skip (most of) the worst choices; the best ones are often just as satisfying.

Choose: Veggies with hummus. Fill up on vegetables first. You can have a full cup of sugar snap peas for 60 calories (0 grams of fat). Add 2 tablespoons of hummus (50 calories, 3 grams of fat) and you have a fiber-rich snack for just a little more than 100 calories.

Choose: A hot dog is a lower calorie meat choice. Enjoy one on a roll with your favorite toppings (with lower-cal toppings like mustard, relish or just a little ketchup) and you’ll come out around 300 calories, 17 g fat.

Choose: Coleslaw can satisfy a craving for something creamy for far fewer calories (83, with 3 grams of fat per cup). Low-cal cabbage is also a rich source of isothiocyanates, compounds that amp up the body’s natural detoxifying enzymes.

Choose: A frozen fruit bar (100 calories, 0 grams of fat) or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream: 140 calories, about 5 grams of fat.

Choose: Light beer.  A 12-ounce bottle generally has a little less than 100 calories. Or go for the best choice of all: zero-calorie flavored seltzer or water.

How To Plan a Healthy Picnic:

Take Advantage of Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables

The more colorful produce you add to your menu, the healthier the meal.  Choose brightly colored summer fruit such as peaches, berries, cherries and watermelon.  Bring some simply grilled vegetables (use a low-fat salad dressing for a marinade) such as corn, zucchini, Portobello mushrooms and red peppers.

Crunchy Appetizers & Low Fat Dips

Pack your cooler with a variety of crisp, raw veggies like cucumbers, carrots, celery, asparagus tips, cherry tomatoes and radishes. Take along a nutritious dip such as hummus, salsa, fat-free bean dip, or low-fat yogurt with herbs and spices.

Take a Second Look at Salads

Potato salad, pasta salad, tuna or egg salad… although they carry the word salad in their name, it does not mean they are calorie controlled, or heart healthy choices! Instead of mayonnaise, use dressings made with less oil and more vinegar to save lots of calories.  Using salad dressings that contain acidic ingredients such as vinegar or citrus instead of mayonnaise not only cuts fat but helps keep foods safer at room temperature.  When making salads use whole grain pasta; try a brown rice salad or whole-wheat couscous salad. Combine cherry tomatoes with green beans and whole-grain pasta and add a little pesto for a nutritious salad that travels well.  Your best bet – use lots of salad greens, cooked beans and raw veggies to make a true salad that will fill you up with fiber without the extra calories.

Add Some Whole-Grains to Add Some Fiber

Breads, rolls, and starchy salads can pile on lots of calories. So always check the food labels to make sure you are making reduced calorie choices when selecting your starches.  In addition, make them whole grain for added nutritional value, as whole grains have additional nutrients and fiber.

Main Dishes can be Healthy & Light (and not necessarily fried)

Skip the fried chicken, and make a variety of wrap sandwiches.  They’re easy, portable, and fun for the whole family.  Start with whole grain wraps and fill them with healthy stuffings such as grilled vegetables, lean cold cuts (turkey, ham, roast beef or chicken with low-fat cheese), grilled chicken, hummus and cucumbers.  Be sure to add lettuce, tomato and other veggies to your wraps for added fiber.  And use mustard, low-fat mayo, or other light condiments to save calories.

Lighten Up the Grill

Buy 93% lean ground beef for burgers (ground turkey breast and veggie burgers are great options too).  Choose from a variety of reduced fat, nitrate-free or turkey hot dogs. Top off your selections with low-fat cheese.  You can also grill skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, or any type of fish for a light and nutritious meal. You will save lots of calories with these heart healthier choices.

Better Beverages

Beat the heat with plenty of ice water, sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea, and an assortment of low-calorie beverages.   Save your calories for the food, and rely on calorie free drinks to hydrate you and quench that summer thirst.  You can mix seltzer with a splash of cranberry juice or any fruit juice for just a touch of flavor without too many calories.

Sweet Indulgences

A colorful fruit platter or fruit salad is sure to satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth. Don’t forget watermelon. If you must have cake. cookies, brownies, or cupcakes, keep the portions small.  

Here are some ideas for your next picnic menu.

Lemon-Garlic Marinated Shrimp  

12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp

Directions:

Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss with shrimp in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve.  Transport in a container with an ice pack.

Lighter and Leaner Pimento Cheese                                                                                                                     

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely grated Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella
  • 2/3 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 celery ribs, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • Garnish: paprika

Directions:

In a medium bowl, add the Cheddar, mozzarella, yogurt, chives, salt and pepper, green and red peppers and jalapeno. Stir well to combine. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese mixture into each celery rib. Garnish with paprika.
Note: Store remaining pimiento cheese mixture in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Garden Fresh Tortellini Salad

8-10 Servings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen spinach tortellini
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 head broccoli (1 pound), broken into florets and tender stems sliced
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 leeks (white part and 2 inches green), well rinsed, dried, and cut into thin julienne
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
  • 1 large sweet yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into julienne
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1. Cook the tortellini in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Remove from boiling water with a large strainer. Drain thoroughly and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Keep water boiling and add the broccoli florets, stems, and carrots.  Cook just until tender. Remove vegetables with a large strainer. Drain and combine with the tortellini.

3. Blanch the julienned leeks 1 minute in the boiling water; drain. Add the leeks, red and yellow peppers, and fresh basil to the bowl with the pasta and vegetables; toss to combine.

4.Combine the dressing ingredients and add the thyme, orange zest, and salt and pepper.

5. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve slightly chilled.

Sweet Potato Muffins

12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Add the sweet potato chunks to a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes. Drain and puree in a blender or food processor or mash well with a fork.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, applesauce, sugar, canola oil, and vanilla. Add in the mashed sweet potato and mix again. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
6. Remove the muffins from the oven. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Watermelon Squares in Campari                                                                                                                                     

Campari is a bitter, red, aperitif from Italy. It compliments the sweet taste of the watermelon.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

One 5- to 6-pound watermelon, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup Campari (or any Aperitifs of choice)

Directions:

  1. Using a very sharp knife, slice the rind from the bottom of each watermelon half. The halves will now lay flat on a cutting board.
  2. Working from top to bottom, trim the rind from the watermelon flesh in 4 cuts, creating 2 large squares. Cut each square in half to make 4 smaller squares. Cut the squares vertically into thirds. Rotate counterclockwise and repeat the cut. Rotate once more counterclockwise and cut into thirds again.
  3. Serve in large paper cups with 2 tablespoons of Campari drizzled over the top

Pasta salads are ideal for summer days when it’s too hot to eat fresh-from-the-oven dishes. Lighten up traditional pasta salad by substituting the fattiest ingredients often found in the dish with leaner options. Omitting the mayonnaise or substituting a low-fat version, using  low-fat cheese and adding fresh vegetables, such as spinach, are among the ways that a traditionally calorie-heavy side dish can be transformed into a healthy main course that’s perfect for summer entertaining.

Whatever type of pasta you have in your cupboard, from spaghetti to rigatoni, you can create a great salad in the time it takes the pasta to cook and cool. The first thing to do before you start cooking any noodles is to look through your kitchen and decide which ingredients will be added to the salad.

Here are a few ideas:

1-Vegetables:

You can put just about any vegetable in a pasta salad. Onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, raw spinach, etc. are good examples. If you prefer to have your vegetables cooked rather than raw you can add them to the pot with your pasta. I would wait until the pasta is partially cooked about 3 minutes before adding them to keep the vegetables from overcooking. Tomatoes, roasted red peppers and cucumber should be raw and added after the pasta is cooked and cooled slightly.

2-Meat and Seafood:

Deli-style meat or leftover cooked meat makes a great addition to a pasta salad. Beef, chicken, ham and turkey are good examples. It doesn’t matter if it’s cubed or thinly sliced, it will blend into the salad nicely.

Seafood is another popular ingredient, freshly cooked or canned. The easiest is to add a can of salmon or tuna to your salad. Freshly cooked seafood is becoming quite popular. Some examples are scallops, shrimp, prawns, crab, squid, mussels, oysters, clams, and any finfish. Smoked salmon is full of flavour and my favorite seafood to add to a salad.

Although meat and/or seafood can enhance your pasta salad, they are not required, so if you would prefer to omit them, you can still make a perfectly fine salad without them.

3-Cheese:

Many pasta salads have parmesan cheese added to them but any cheese will add flavor. You can use cheese in any form such as grated, sliced or cubed.

4-Olives:

Any kind of olive enhances a salad.

5-Spices:

Add spices sparingly, use any of your favorites. Some popular ones are: oregano, basil, thyme or chives.

6-Dressing:

For dressing you can go with creamy or an oil and vinegar mix. Any bottled dressing will work or you can make your own. Homemade dressings taste better. For creamy dressing use about a cup of  low-fat mayonnaise or yogurt with 1/4 cup of either vinegar, wine, lemon or lime juice. Add a little spice, salt and pepper to taste and you have a creamy dressing. For an oil/vinegar dressing just substitute the mayonnaise or yogurt with about 1/4 cup salad oil.

Now that you have decided on your ingredients it’s time to boil your pasta. Follow the directions on the package and cook until al dente. In other words, cook pasta until tender but firm (usually about 8-10 minutes).

Drain pasta in a colander and pour into a large serving bowl.  Add dressing sparingly until salad is completely coated. Pasta will absorb the dressing better while it is warm. Add all the other ingredients you have decided upon and mix well. Cool salad for about 2 hours before serving.

Lemon-Basil Chicken-Pasta Salad  

 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 2 cups uncooked rotini or rotelle (spiral) pasta (6 ounces)
  • 10 asparagus stalks (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 5 ounces cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2  cup shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Directions:
Fill a 4-quart Dutch oven about half full of water. Add salt and cover with lid; heat over high heat until water is boiling rapidly. Add the pasta. Heat to boiling again. Boil uncovered 9 to 11 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender but not mushy. While water is heating and pasta is cooking, continue with recipe.
Break off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus stalks where they snap easily; wash asparagus. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. Add asparagus to the pasta during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.
Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes to measure about 2 cups. Tear the basil leaves lengthwise into narrow strips.
Place strainer or colander in the sink. Pour pasta and asparagus in the strainer to drain.
In a large bowl, toss pasta, asparagus and chicken. Stir in garlic, basil, cheese, oil and lemon peel. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until chilled.

Caesar Pasta Salad

Cooked cold shrimp makes a great addition to this salad.

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 12 ounces curly pasta, such as fusilli 
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 flat anchovies, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 10 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
  • Chopped fresh basil

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 10 minutes, or as package label directs.
2. While pasta is cooking, combine garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, mayonnaise, olive oil and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Drain pasta. Toss with half of the dressing and tomatoes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Toss with Parmesan.
4. Toss lettuce with remaining dressing and divide among 4 shallow bowls. Spoon pasta salad over lettuce, sprinkle with basil and serve.

Orecchiette with Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil

Taking its cue from Italy’s insalata caprese, this easy dish combines fresh mozzarella cheese with basil and tomatoes. Choose the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes for this delicious pasta salad.
4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked orecchiette (about 8 ounces uncooked
  • 3 cups chopped plum tomato
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) diced fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions: drain.
Combine pasta, tomato, and remaining ingredients.
Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Chicken-Thyme-Penne Salad

Servings: 6 servings (1 cup each)

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups uncooked penne pasta (10 oz)
  • 2 cups cubed deli rotisserie or leftover chicken (from a 2- to 2 1/2-lb chicken)
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
  • 1 medium stalk celery, sliced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 11/2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:
Cook pasta as directed on package and drain.
In large bowl, mix pasta, chicken, grapes, celery and onion.

In small bowl, mix oil and 1/2 tablespoon of the fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon of the dried thyme). Pour oil mixture over chicken mixture; toss to coat. In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk, honey, mustard, salt and remaining thyme.

Cover chicken mixture and mayonnaise mixture separately; refrigerate at least 4 hours but no longer than 24 hours. Up to 2 hours before serving, toss chicken mixture and mayonnaise mixture. Cover; refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, stir in 1/4 cup of the walnuts. Sprinkle salad with remaining walnuts.  

Macaroni Salad with Summer Tomatoes

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup salad, about 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs, and 3/4 teaspoon basil)

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces uncooked medium elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 4 cups chopped seeded tomato (about 6 tomatoes)
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice sandwich bread
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Directions:

Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain.
Combine white balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, stirring with a whisk. Add cooked pasta and tomato; toss well to coat.
Place bread in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned and crisp, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and basil.  Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

Pesto Pasta Salad

An easy homemade pesto elevates a casual pasta salad. Grilled tuna or scallops would be a good addition.
8 Servings

Ingredients:

Pesto:

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Salad:

  • 1 pound gemelli or other short pasta
  • 1 cup plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Make pesto: In a food processor puree basil, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and pine nuts until smooth. With motor running, add olive oil and process until a thick paste forms. Add Parmesan and pulse twice. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Make salad: Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
In a large bowl, combine pesto and Greek yogurt and stir until well blended. Add pasta and toss to coat with dressing. Top with tomatoes. Serve salad at room temperature or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.

Related articles

Sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that are placed in the sun to remove most of the water content from the tomatoes. Cherry types of tomatoes will lose 88% of their initial (fresh) weight, while larger tomatoes can lose up to 93% during the process. As a result, it takes anywhere from 17 to 20 lbs of fresh tomatoes to make a single pound of sun-dried tomatoes.

Even after the procedure, the tomato fruits keep their nutritional value. The tomatoes are high in lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C, and low in sodium, fat, and calories.

sun dried tomatoes commercial production

Before modern canning methods were available, Italians dried tomatoes on their tile roofs for use in winter when fresh tomatoes were not an option. Nowadays, sun-dried tomatoes (pomodori secchiin Italian) are not as popular in Italy as they are in America, where they are mostly relegated to antipasto or as a flavor-booster for sauce. These dried, concentrated and flavorful tomatoes have enjoyed a popularity boost in the United States in the past couple of decades, initially as a gourmet item but fast becoming a favorite of home cooks.

Sun-dried tomato tips

Sun-dried tomatoes can be used in a wide variety of recipes and come in a variety of shapes and colors. Traditionally, they were made from dried red plum tomatoes, but they can be purchased in yellow varieties as well. Sun-dried tomatoes may also be preserved in olive oil, along with other ingredients such as rosemary, basil, dried paprika, and garlic.

Unless they are already packed in oil, sun-dried tomatoes will need to be reconstituted before use. Just let them soak in warm water for thirty minutes until soft and pliable, drain (reserve the liquid to add flavor to stocks and sauces), pat dry and use as directed in your recipe. You can also use wine, broth, or other cooking liquid to reconstitute. Once reconstituted, use them within several days or pack in olive oil and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  To reconstitute in oil, simply cover the dried tomatoes with oil and refrigerate for 24 hours.

To use oil-packed, drain tomatoes from oil and use. Always be sure that those left in the jar are completely covered with oil, which may mean adding more oil as you use the tomatoes. Don’t toss out that oil when you’re done with the tomatoes. It will pick up flavor from the tomatoes and be great in salad dressings or used for sauteing.

Cooking with sun-dried tomatoes

The flavor of sun-dried tomatoes is quite intense, concentrated, and slightly salty, so a little goes a long way. Although they are wonderful with pasta, you’ll enjoy using sun-dried tomatoes with many other foods, including vegetables, meats, and breads. Unopened commercially dried tomatoes will be fine without refrigeration for six to nine months. Once opened, oil-packed dried tomatoes should be refrigerated and used within two weeks. They can also be frozen.

Sun-Dried-Tomato Vinaigrette

Yield: 1½ cups
This vinaigrette is rich and sweet from the sun-dried tomatoes, so you don’t need to use much of it on salad greens
To use it as a pesto sauce and/or to add it to a pasta dish, omit the vinegar, thin it down with pasta water, and add pine nuts, sautéed zucchini, and chopped fresh basil.

  • 12 oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients but the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor (or a blender) fitted with a metal blade, and purée to a thick paste.
Continuing to run the machine, add the oil slowly through the feed tube or the lid of the blender. Taste for salt.

Breakfast

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata

  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups egg substitute
  • 8 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 425°F. Coat 4 small baking dishes with cooking spray. Set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook shallot until soft but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Lightly whisk eggs and egg substitute in a bowl. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, basil, spinach mixture, salt and pepper. Spoon into baking dishes; bake until firm in the center, 12 to 14 minutes

 Lunch


Turkey, Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Wraps

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, low-fat whipped
  • 2 tablespoons jarred julienned sun-dried tomatoes or 6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 large whole wheat flour tortilla
  • 3/4 pound sliced smoked turkey breast
  • 4 lettuce leaves, green leaf, Bibb or Romaine, shredded

1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.
2. Lay the tortillas out and spread 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on each of them. Divide the turkey among the tortillas and spread the remaining cream cheese mixture on top of the turkey. Divide the shredded lettuce among the tortillas and tightly roll each tortilla into a cylinder, ending with the seam side down.(The wraps can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)
3. Cut the wraps in half on the diagonal and serve. 4 servings.

Garlic Shrimp with Sun-Dried Tomatoes - Gambas al Ajillo con Tomates

Shrimp With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or jarred sun-dried tomato oil
  • Several sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained if necessary
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or dry white wine
  • 16 to 24 large shrimp, peeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil.

Put oil in a large, oven proof skillet over medium heat and add thyme, garlic, tomatoes and capers. Cook just until mixture sizzles, then add stock or wine; raise heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about a minute, then add shrimp, turning them in sauce. Cook just until they turn pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish with basil, and serve hot or warm with Italian bread.

Dinner

 

Italian Pork Tenderloin

4 Servings

  • 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 slices of prosciutto
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • Olive oil for brushing meat; salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard, or mustard of choice

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Oil a baking dish just large enough to fit the pork tenderloin. Make the stuffing. Put the oil, sage, prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse this mixture a few times until it is combined to a thick paste.

Cut a slit through the middle of your pork, but don’t go through to the bottom and with your hands, spread the stuffing onto the center of the meat. Close the pocket.
Tie together with kitchen twine to secure. Rub the tenderloin with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.

Place meat in prepared baking dish. Roast the pork at 450 degrees F.  for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and cook another 30 minutes. Pork should be 160 degrees when done. Let the meat rest  for 5 minutes so the juices can distribute evenly before slicing. Remove the string.

To make a simple pan sauce, use the drippings in the pan and whisk in a tablespoon of honey mustard. There won’t be a lot of sauce, but enough to drizzle over the pork slices.

    

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sun Dried Tomatoes and White Beans

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 12 pieces), sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed or 2 cups cooked dried beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain pasta thoroughly.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over high heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add half the broccoli rabe and sauté until lightly wilted but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add remaining broccoli rabe to pan and cook for another minute or two. Add sun-dried tomatoes and cannellini beans and toss lightly. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add hot drained pasta to the pan (or to a larger bowl if needed) and toss with the vegetables. Stir and add a few tablespoons of reserved pasta cooking water if mixture seems dry. Season and taste again. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo

Fish fillets may also be substituted in place of chicken. Serve with sautéed fresh spinach.
4 servings

  • 8 ounces orzo, preferably whole-grain
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes,oil-packed, divided
  • 2 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, divided
  • 2 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sun-dried tomato oil, (reserved from sun-dried tomato jar )
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1- 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded Pecorino-Romano cheese, divided
  1. Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, place  water, 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 2 teaspoons marjoram, vinegar and  sun-dried tomato oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out 1/2 cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 tablespoons cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.
  5. Slice the chicken. Top each portion of orzo with sliced chicken, 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.


Sun Ripened Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil


Eating fruit as part of your daily diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and some cancers. Also, fruit contains a great variety of vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fiber. So, eating the right combinations of fruit is particularly good for you. For instance, an apple is high in fiber but low in vitamin C, but if you add an orange and some strawberries, then you will get all the vitamin C you need for that day.
If you didn’t know fruit was good for you, you would not eat it. But, as much as you would prefer to eat potato chips for a snack, you know that fruit is an important part of a balanced diet. Don’t forget about fruit when you plan your weekly meals.
Plan your meals before you go shopping; make sure they include fruit. Breakfast cereal can be topped with bananas, low-fat yogurt can be mixed with blueberries, and pancakes can be decorated with fresh strawberries. Seedless grapes make an easy side to your lunchtime sandwich. You can even top your dinner salad with chopped apples or sliced oranges.
According to USDA’s, My Pyramid, you want to eat around 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit everyday. Aim for fresh, seasonal fruit whenever possible. If fresh fruit is not available, dried, canned or frozen fruit are other options. Remember, portions of dried fruit are smaller–a serving is typically 1/4-cup.
Don’t always stick to the same foods, as you could find that you are still lacking in some nutrients. Make sure that you include a variety of foods in a variety of colours – the brighter the better.  Summer is the perfect time to start.

Guide to fruit portions:

Fresh fruit:

  • Small-sized fruit: 2 or more, for example 2 plums, 2 satsumas, 3 apricots, 2 kiwi, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries.
  • Medium-sized fruit: 1 medium fruit, such as 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine.
  • Large fruits: half a grapefruit, 1 slice of papaya, 1 slice of melon (2-inch slice), 1 large slice of pineapple, 2 slices of mango (2-inch slices)

Dried fruit:

  • 1 tablespoon of raisins, currants, sultanas, 1 tablespoon of mixed fruit, 2 figs, 3 prunes, 1 handful of banana chips

Canned or frozen fruit:

  • Roughly the same quantity of fruit that you would eat as a fresh portion: 2 pear or peach halves, 6 apricot halves, 8 segments of tinned grapefruit

Juices:

  • A glass (6 oz.) of 100% juice (fruit or smoothie) counts as 1 portion, but you should only count juice as 1 portion per day, however much you drink. This is mainly because it contains very little fiber and more sugar than fresh fruit.

EASY WAYS TO EAT MORE FRUIT

  1. Add fruit slices to sandwiches. Sliced pear and apple add a unique texture and unexpected flavor.
  2. Mix chopped fruit into plain yogurt. When comparing six-ounce containers of Greek yogurt, plain offers 18 grams of protein for 100 calories, and strawberry is 140 calories with 14 grams of protein. Instead of buying the premade flavors, make your own by adding pureed or chopped fruit. You’ll save money, avoid added sugars, and be able to customize the flavor to your taste buds with distinct combos like blackberry peach or strawberry pear.
  3. Add fruit to baked goods. We’ve all made banana bread, but that’s not the only fruit-based treat you can bake. Lower the fat in just about any recipe by replacing half the oil with applesauce, or get creative with muffin recipes by adding diced strawberries, or mix bits of dried apricots into cookie dough.
  4. Cut up fruit and store it in the fridge. It takes effort to wash and cut fruit, enough to make you reach for something easier and less healthy. Make fruit as accessible as a bag of chips by storing cut up fruit in portion size containers in the refrigerator.
  5. Eat fruit for dessert. Save calories and skip the refined sugars by enjoying nature’s dessert.

Recipes That Add Fruit To Your Daily Meal Choices

Breakfast

Buttermilk Oat Pancakes

4 servings, 3 oatcakes & 1/4 cup fruit sauce each

  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare oatcakes: Whisk buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt in another medium bowl. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. The mixture will bubble slightly as it sits.
  2. Using a pastry brush coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with canola oil; heat over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup of batter for each, cook 3 or 4 oatcakes at a time until bubbles dot the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until browned, 1 to 2 minutes more, reducing heat if necessary to prevent over browning.  Keep warm in a 200 F. oven.
  3. Serve the oatcakes with the fruit sauce.


Fruit Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh berries, whatever is in season
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Meanwhile, place berries, maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are mostly broken down and syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Good For You Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped fresh, seasonal fruit (blueberries, blackberries or raspberries, leave whole)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs or ¾ cup egg substitute

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
Whisk together the flours, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and fruit.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just blended.
Using an ice cream scoop put batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake the muffins for 15 to 18 minutes, until they are light golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a rack. Serve warm.

Lunch

Florida Citrus Salad with Shrimp


Makes 4 servings

  • 8 small potatoes (fingerling, or red or yellow)
  • 3 grapefruit or oranges or tangerines
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 whole cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds, optional
  • 1/4 cup chopped herb of choice (oregano, tarragon, dill, basil)
  • 1 head radicchio, washed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

12 jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. While potatoes cook, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in medium bowl.
Slice cooked potatoes and place them immediately into vinaigrette while hot to infuse flavor.
Zest grapefruit or orange to get 2 to 3 tablespoons of peel. Then, peel and segment fruit over a strainer set over a bowl to save juice for searing shrimp.
In hot sauté pan, cook shrimp in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook shrimp 1 or 2 minutes on each side until pink. Add grapefruit zest and reserved juice to pan.
Combine shrimp, fruit and remaining salad ingredients, toss and serve.

Spring Greens and Strawberries With Poppy Seed Dressing

4 servings

Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups watercress leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups torn arugula leaves
  • 2 cups torn tender spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
  • Orange Poppy Seed Dressing, recipe below

In a large bowl, combine the watercress, arugula, spinach and strawberries.  Pour the dressing to taste over the salad and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with almonds.

Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Makes 1-1/2 cups

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1-1/3 cups orange juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir in the orange juice, vinegar, mustard and honey. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in poppy seeds and salt. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Dinner


Salmon with Fruit Salsa

Makes: 4 servings

Salsa:

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries or chopped, peeled peaches or nectarines
  • 1/3 cup chopped, peeled kiwi fruit or fresh apricots or mango
  • 1/4 cup small diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Salmon

  • 16 ounces fresh, skinned salmon, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • Salt

Pat dry fish dry with paper towels. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces.

For fruit salsa: in a medium nonreactive bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes before serving..

Brush both sides of each fish piece with oil. Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning and salt.
Oil the unheated rack of a broiler pan, or grill pan or outdoor grill. Place fish on pan or grill.

Broil 4 inches or from heat or grill for 8 to 12 minutes or just until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through cooking. Serve with the fruit salsa.

Chicken With Peaches and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons Wondra all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ripe fresh peaches or 2 nectarines
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

In a shallow dish, combine flour and half of the salt and pepper, set aside 2 teaspoons for sauce.
In remaining flour mixture, coat chicken well; shake of excess.
In a large  saute pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook chicken, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Meanwhile, peel and pit peaches; cut into wedges.
Add onion, garlic and reserved flour mixture to skillet; cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Pour in stock and lemon juice; bring to boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add peaches; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Stir in basil and remaining salt and pepper.
Pour over chicken to serve.

Dessert

Summer Berry Crisp

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2  tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1  tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 2  teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 6  cups assorted fresh berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, hulled strawberries or raspberries)
  • 2  tablespoons orange juice
  • 1  tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4  cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2  cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 6  tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2  cup regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup frozen yogurt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl combine ½ cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, orange peel and lemon peel. Add berries, orange juice and lemon juice; toss gently to combine. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, allspice and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in oats. Sprinkle over fruit mixture in dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and juices are bubbly in the center of the dish. Cool slightly and serve warm with a spoonful of frozen yogurt, if desired. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, so it is good to know that it is a naturally renewable and sustainable resource. I live in the heart of shrimp country on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. We are able to purchase wild-caught shrimp year round.  However, not all shrimp is sustainable and there is a big taste difference in the shrimp you buy frozen from the supermarket and US wild-caught shrimp. Most likely the shrimp you bought at the supermarket or the shrimp dish you ordered at a restaurant was not from the sea.

Ninety percent of the shrimp eaten by Americans is imported from countries such as Thailand, India and Ecuador, where industrial shrimp farms are harming the environment and coastal communities, and producing unhealthy, flavorless shrimp. Unlike imported shrimp, US wild-caught shrimp, are unlikely to contain the chemicals that are used heavily on many foreign shrimp farms. The impact on the environment from shrimping in the United States is far less significant than those of many foreign shrimp farms.  Most US shrimp spawn offshore in deep water from early spring through early fall and grow very quickly. Additionally, choosing shrimp from the Gulf, the Carolinas, Maine or Oregon supports the economic well-being of U.S. coastal communities.

There are four species of wild-caught shrimp commercially harvested in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic waters.  Shrimp species are categorized by shell color: pink, white, brown, and royal red. The majority of the shrimp harvested in my area are the pink species.The meat is white with pink skin tones, firm texture and mild flavor.


Wild-caught white shrimp has a sweet taste and firm, almost “crunchy” meat which makes it a favorite of local chefs to use in a variety of recipes. They are harvested primarily in the fall from October through December. With a lifespan of up to 24 months, they can grow as large as eight inches.

Florida brown shrimp are harvested year round in both the Atlantic and Gulf waters with the highest yields June through August. Brown shrimp are named for their reddish brown shells and have a firmer texture than other varieties due to a higher iodine content. They can grow as large as nine inches long and have a maximum life span of 18 months.

Florida royal reds with their deep red color and soft, delicate texture have a unique taste that you won’t find in any other shrimp. Royal Reds are frozen onboard the ships and contain more salt than other shrimp so do not add salt to the water when cooking. Royal red shrimp are harvested in the deep Atlantic waters off the coast of St. Augustine with peak season in late summer through fall.

Gulf Shrimp Boats

HOW MUCH TO BUY

  • Raw, headless and unpeeled shrimp: 1/3 pound per serving.
  • Peeled and deveined shrimp: 1/6 pound per serving
  • Two pounds of raw, headless, unpeeled shrimp will yield 1 pound of cooked peeled and deveined shrimp.
  • Shrimp are sized and sold by count (number of shrimp per pound) either whole or headless. For example, headless shrimp of 16-20 count means there are 16 to 20 headless shrimp per pound. Counts for headless shrimp range from under 10 (the largest shrimp) to 300-500 (the smallest. 
  • Store shrimp in the coldest part of your refrigerator at 32 degrees F and use within two days, or freeze at 0 degrees F for up to six months.
  • Remember to purchase seafood last and keep it cold during the trip home.

Some of My Favorite Shrimp Recipes

Appetizers

Shrimp with Garlic and Bread Crumbs

  • 1 cup Progresso Italian Panko Crumbs
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • big pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Lemon wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly oil a large baking pan.
2. In a bowl, combine the panko crumbs, parsley, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice and zest.  Add 2-3 tablespoons oil, just enough to moisten the crumbs.
3. Arrange the shrimp in the pan in a single layer, curling each one into a circle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon a little of the crumb mixture onto each shrimp. Drizzle with a little more oil.
4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp, or until the shrimp turn pink and the crumbs are lightly browned. Serve with lemon wedges.

Grilled Garlic Tomato Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), shelled and deveined, with tails left intact
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted dry, chopped fine
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Salsa Verde, recipe below

Mince together the tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil. Turn into a medium bowl and stir in the hot pepper and olive oil. Toss shrimp with the tomato mixture. Keep cold in the refrigerator.
Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp on a lightly oiled, medium-hot grill, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Serve with Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth


Put the parsley, capers, the garlic clove, the lemon juice, anchovy paste, mustard,  salt, and pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse just to chop, six to eight times. With the machine running, add the oil and chicken broth in a thin stream to make a slightly coarse puree.


Main Dishes

How to Butterfly Shrimp for Stuffing

1. Use a sharp paring knife to cut along (but not through) the vein line, then open up the shrimp like a book

.

2. Using the tip of the paring knife, cut a 1-inch opening through the center of  the shrimp.

.

3. After the shrimp have been butterflied and the opening has been cut, flip the shrimp over when placing in the baking dish, so that they will curl around the stuffing.


4. Divide the stuffing among the shrimp, firmly pressing the stuffing into the opening and to the edges of the shrimp.

Crab Stuffed Shrimp

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• 1/2 cup egg substitute
• 1 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs
• 2 tablespoons light or low fat mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 pound lump crabmeat
• 1 pound large shrimp
• 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges

Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein and butterfly shrimp according to the directions above.
Place shrimp in a baking dish coated with cooking spray with the tail pointing up and the shrimp curved into a circle. (Fan the tail out for handle)
Mix first 7 ingredients and gently fold into crab meat. Place a spoonful of crab meat mixture on top of the circle. Top with fresh parmesan and place baking dish in 350 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Stuffed Shrimp Oreganata

  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
  • (made from Italian bread, crusts removed and processed into crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. To butterfly them, follow the directions above.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the shrimp in a single layer.
Heat the butter and the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, soft and just beginning to turn golden – do not brown. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
Spoon even portions of the breadcrumb mixture over each of the butterflied shrimp. Using your fingers, gently mold each portion of stuffing around the shrimp. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Shrimp Parmigiana


 You will need the following amounts for 2 servings.  Recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Spray a baking dish that fits the portion of shrimp you are making with cooking spray.

Place the egg substitute in a shallow bowl, and the Panko breadcrumbs in another.

Shrimp in Egg Bath.

Wash and dry the shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.   Put shrimp in the bowl with the egg substitute to coat and then into the breadcrumbs. Place in the baking dish.

Breading Shrimp with Panko

The shrimp can be prepared ahead up to this point.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Shrimp Ready to be Baked

Drizzle the top of the shrimp with the olive oil and bake on the middle oven rack for 12 minutes.

Shrimp after Baking in the Oven

 Pour sauce evenly over shrimp and then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Shrimp with sauce and cheese ready to return to the oven.

Return to the oven and heat just until cheese melts about 3-4 minutes.

Shrimp after Cheese has Melted

Shrimp Parmigiana served with Spaghetti


Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spaghetti

In Italy the phrase “alla fra diavolo”, which means “in Brother Devil’s style,” refers to a dish in which chicken is sprinkled heavily with black pepper and then grilled.  In America, lobster fra diavolo became a popular restaurant dish in the 1930s—it was unknown in Italy, where they do not have American lobsters. The reference to “brother Devil” refers both to the red color of the lobster and the tomato sauce and to the hot bite provided by the chile pepper,  which suggests that this sauce might have originated with Abruzzese cooks who came to this country. Abruzzo is renowned for its hearty and spicy dishes that use hot red peppers, called diavolini (little devils) that grow well in that region of Italy. Crushed red chile peppers give this sauce a better flavor than cayenne pepper but you may need to adjust the amount based on your tolerance for hot peppers. I choose to make this dish with shrimp instead of lobster.

Sauce:
2 (28-ounce) containers Pomi chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt, taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp:
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 fresh basil leaves, torn into quarters
1 lb.spaghetti

In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the bay leaves and stir them in the oil until they begin to brown, about 10 seconds. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the onions, carrots, and oregano. Cook the vegetables until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them from scorching.
Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, salt and pepper, and clam juice.  Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered until the sauce thickens, about 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick.  Remove bay leaves.
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

Stir crushed red pepper into sauce and lay the shrimp in the sauce, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the shrimp turn pink, 4 to 6 minutes. Adjust the seasonings, add basil and serve over spaghetti.


With over 500 different types of pasta available, it is not only, one of the most popular foods in the world, but it  can be served in hundreds of different ways. The drying process is also a key to the flavor of pasta. Slow drying at low temperatures helps to preserve the nutty flavor of the durum wheat. This method of slow drying pasta is an art as well as a science, since drying times vary depending on the shape of the pasta and outdoor relative humidity levels and temperatures. This subtle difference of a slow-dried pasta can be tasted best before you add the sauce.

There is archeological evidence that noodles existed in China about 4,000 years ago. Spanish colonists brought pasta to the U.S, but it wasn’t until the large immigration by Italians in the last half of the 19th century that pasta gained popularity. By the 1920’s, pasta was a comfort food throughout America.

Pasta is a healthy food.  It is a source of complex carbohydrates, thiamin, folic acid, iron, riboflavin and niacin, and it contains only negligible amounts of fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Fettuccine Alfredo is high in calories from heavy cream, butter and Parmesan cheese.  Make pasta healthier by serving it with a tomato-based sauce that contains clams, shrimp, peppers, mushrooms, chickpeas, or other low fat foods and flavorings.

A one cup serving of cooked pasta contains about 40 grams of carbohydrates. And in the context of a balanced diet, 40 grams of carbohydrates is not over doing it. It is the same amount of carbs as in a cup of rice, for example. The problem is that, when it comes to pasta, we seem to think that a larger portion is the norm. For example, a one-cup serving of rice looks perfectly appropriate to us—actually generous, but put one cup of pasta in front of us and it doesn’t look right at all.  

If you’re trying to figure out how much to cook, a serving of dried pasta is about two ounces. For long, thin shapes, that’s a bundle the size of a dime. For smaller shapes, it’s about a half cup.  You can also mentally divide up the box. Each one pound box contains about eight servings.  Once it’s cooked, a serving of pasta equals one measuring cup, or about the size of your fist.

Italian Portion of Pasta

American Portion of Pasta

 

Different Types of Pasta

You can vary the type of pasta you serve based on your nutritional needs or what other ingredients you are going to combine with the pasta.

Alternative Grain Pastas: This category includes Kamut® (a whole grain pasta), spelt pasta (made with 100% spelt flour) and quinoa (an ancient grain pasta similar to rice).

Durum Semolina Pasta: This is the best choice for wheat-based pasta. Durum wheat is a high-gluten, exceptionally hard wheat, while “semolina” refers to the milling texture (that of fine sand). If your pasta has a rich ivory color approaching yellow, you can be sure it is made with durum semolina.

Egg Noodles: They may be delicate, but egg noodles absorb sauces more readily than regular durum noodles. These are best eaten with light sauces.

Gluten-free Pasta: The primary ingredients used as flour in gluten-free pasta are brown rice, corn, a combination of corn and quinoa, potato and soybeans.

Whole Wheat Pasta: This pasta choice offers nutrition and a rich, nutty flavor that stands up to robust sauces. Since production varies, if your first experience with whole grain pasta doesn’t meet expectations, try another brand before giving up on this healthy pasta choice. Vegetable combinations are best used with this type of pasta.

Spaghetti Fork

How To Cook Pasta

The term “al dente” in Italian  literally means “to the tooth” and can be best translated as “chewy” or pasta that is boiled just to the point of being cooked through, yet remains firm. Americans prefer their pasta to be cooked longer. This is unfortunate, because the length of time pasta is cooked can have quite substantially different effects on blood glucose and the softer the pasta, the higher the glycemic index.  (The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose (blood sugar) level.)

For 1 pound of pasta, use a pot that’s at least 8 quarts. When the water has boiled, salt it generously—about 2 tablespoons.

  1. Add the pasta; stir it right away so it doesn’t stick. Push longer pasta down into the water with tongs or a spaghetti fork to make sure it’s totally submerged. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. When the pasta begins to soften, try tasting it. If you bite into a piece and see a thin, starchy line inside, keep boiling.
  3. To achieve the al dente texture, cook the pasta a minute or two under the recommended cooking time.
  4. Drain the pasta in a colander. Don’t rinse, the starch that remains on the pasta will help the sauce adhere.

Save a cup of the boiling water before you drain the pasta. The starch in the water will help thicken the sauce and help it coat the pasta.

Pasta Pot with Built in Strainer

I have an oval Dutch oven that I like to use to cook spaghetti.

My family certainly likes pasta with a tomato based sauce and we always have plenty of that on hand. In order to eat less meat and less fat, I have also accumulated a number of recipes that utilize vegetables, fish, citrus flavorings and low-fat sauces. Here are some recipes that are good for you:

Penne with Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1-9 oz package frozen artichokes, defrosted
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 12 ounces penne, cooked and drained ( or any short pasta of your choice)
Directions

Combine artichokes, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until tender. Cool artichokes, then cut into thick slices. Reserve the artichoke cooking liquid.

Cook and stir 3 tablespoons garlic and 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat until golden. Reduce heat to low. Add artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes; simmer 1 minute. Stir in artichoke liquid, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes.

Stir together the bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
Pour artichoke sauce over pasta in large bowl; toss gently to coat.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese mixture.

Pasta with Asparagus and Shrimp

Pasta with Asparagus and Shrimp in Lemon Sauce

This recipe can be adapted to whatever vegetables are in season and your protein or herbs of choice.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 lb large ( any size is fine) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound short curly pasta, such as corkscrews, fusilli, chiocciole (small snails) or small shells
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated and the juice from the lemons (should be about 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon slices for garnish

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, drop in the asparagus and cook until tender but firm. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, drop in the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook about 1 minutes.  Add the shrimp and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the asparagus and cook until the shrimp are cooked through (just pink) and the asparagus are warmed, about 2 minutes more.  Add the lemon juice and toss. Remove from heat.
  4. Return the pasta to the pot and toss it with 1/2 of the Parmesan, 1/2 of the parsley, lemon zest, remaining olive oil and reserved cooking liquid. Season with salt and a generous sprinkling of coarsely ground fresh pepper.  Pour into a serving bowl.
  5. Arrange the shrimp and asparagus on top and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and parsley. Garnish with lemon slice.

This recipe is under 350 calories per serving.



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