I mentioned in my last blog that I am on Weight Watchers, and for me, dieting can get old really fast. So to keep my commitment, I needed to come up with a pasta dish that had intense flavors but very little fat (olive oil, meat fat, etc.) that I would want to eat instead of say a classic pomodoro with melted mozzarella and- glug glug glug- lots of olive oil! I have been experimenting with using chicken stock in place of fat for the last month and it really works well. Another win-win is roasting (anything) because it concentrates flavors and makes all things taste better. It's just that simple. I've been roasting vegetables for 20 years so that part is not new to me. Taking roasted vegetables and tossing them into a reduced chicken stock seasoned with a smashed head of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes IS. For anyone looking to reduce their fat and calorie intake, give this recipe a shot...
Ingredients: -Whole wheat fusili The roasted veg mixture: -1/2 a head of cauliflower -1 crown of broccoli -1 medium onion -2 medium carrots -4 cloves of garlic smashed and finely chopped -1/4 cup of Italian parsley finely chopped -3 small beets -salt & pepper to taste The "sauce": -5oz chicken broth -1 large clove garlic smashed and chopped -1 tsp olive oil -large pinch of red pepper flakes -salt & pepper to taste
What and how to do it:
This recipe made 3 servings...
-Preheat your oven to 350˚ (set it on roast if you have that option but if not, bake is fine). Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Set a sauce pan on another burner. Prepare a baking tray with a liner of parchment paper.
-Cut up all the vegetables into bite sized pieces, except for the onion, make those pieces smaller. Combine the chopped garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, toss into the veggie mixture, and mix all together in a large mixing bowl. Spread the vegetables on your prepared baking tray and put it into the preheated oven. It will take approx 25 minutes for the veggies to get crispy edges and soft centers.
-In the meantime, set a large sauce pan on the stove and let it heat up. Add in the chicken broth, smashed garlic glove, 1 tsp of olive oil, and red pepper flakes, cooking it down to a loose reduction. It should become a slightly caramel color when ready. Turn the heat off and set the "sauce" aside while the vegetables are roasting and pasta is cooking.
-About 10 minutes before the vegetables are ready, put the whole wheat pasta in the boiling water to cook for around 7-8 minutes. Pull the pasta out of the water around 2-3 minutes before it is done, it should be very al dente, and add it into the sauce pan filled with the reduced stock. The pasta water should be used to keep the reduction loose once the pasta is added in. When the roasted vegetables are done to your liking, toss them into the pasta pan and let all the ingredients cook together for a few minuted before shutting the heat off and serving.
If you are looking to lose weight, serve 75% vegetables and 25% pasta. If not, sprinkle some grated parm, a dab of butter and dig in!