White pasta is made with (no surprise) white flour, which has been stripped of its bran and germ during processing.
And even though brown pasta still has about the same number of calories as the white stuff, in this dish–by adding in a load of vegetables and serving it on top of fresh greens–you can have a truly substantial lunch or dinner for only about 400 calories.
BROWN RICE PASTA PRIMAVERA
1 pkg brown rice pasta twirls
4 cups chopped broccoli, about one head (thick stem peeled before chopping)
1 lg zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 carrots, sliced thin on a diagonal
2 shallots, sliced (or ½ red onion)
1 t. minced garlic
½ cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes plus 1 T of the herbed olive oil they’re packed in
1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Broth Paste
2 cups cooked chicken, torn or chopped into 1-2 inch pieces)
2 cups frozen peas
¼ cup Romano cheese, grated
Add pasta, stirring a minute to make sure the pieces don’t stick together.
While pasta is boiling, chop all the vegetables.
When the carrots and broccoli are brightly colored and just tender, remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and use it to dissolve 1 tsp of chicken broth paste and set aside. Pour the pasta, broccoli and carrots into a colander in the sink to drain.
Return pot to flame, reduce heat to medium, spray with cooking oil and add onion, sun-dried tomatoes and its oil, zucchini, bell pepper, onions and garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Vegetables should be nicely coated with the herbed oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.
Add chicken and stir so that it also has a chance to absorb some of the tasty, oily broth.
Add frozen peas and stir another minute or two until heated through.
Turn off heat and dump pasta, broccoli and carrots back into the pot. Stir gently to re-warm the pasta.
Add freshly chopped basil or parsley if you like.
For a full but skinny meal, serve a cup or 2 of the pasta (warm or cold) on top of a generous mound of mixed greens or spinach salad dressed with salt and pepper, red wine vinegar or lemon juice.
PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD
This is a recipe that’s easy to adapt according to what vegetables are in season. In the spring, instead of broccoli and chicken, try asparagus, shrimp and dill. In the summer, try mixing in some fresh arugula and tomatoes and substituting feta for the Romano.
And no matter how you choose to make it, make enough for the next day… it’s a great meal to take on the go to work or school.