June 20, 2011

Low-Carb Summer Pasta

Fresh tomatoes and briney olives are great additions to summer pasta dishes. by Laura Roberts

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is—except when it comes to a new brand of low-carb pasta. Thanks to a company called Dreamfields, your average store-bought pasta is now just as tasty as ever, with extra health benefits thanks to the addition of fiber.

The secret to this magical pasta is insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber is good for you because it helps keep the digestive system on track, insoluble fiber simply passes through the body without being absorbed as food. By bumping up the amount of total fiber in the average pot of pasta, Dreamfields is decreasing the effects of “carb crash”—that tired, bloated feeling you get after eating a big bowl of pasta.

With instructions to cook their pasta exactly as directed for maximum fiber benefit, Dreamfields is changing the way Americans view pasta. Instead of looking for whole wheat, rice or other alternatives, added fiber can make an occasional indulgence less detrimental to your figure or your overall health. Just remember that the recommended serving size of pasta is only the size of your fist, and not the oversized, heaping pasta bowls you typically get at an Italian-style restaurant.

If you love pasta, but hate the guilt that goes along with the carb crash, check out this low-carb recipe with simple summertime ingredients.

LOW-CARB SUMMER PASTA

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 box of Dreamfields low-carb pasta (rotini, macaroni elbows or penne rigate all work nicely)
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (diced)
  • at least 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 shallot
  • dried oregano (to taste)
  • salt & cayenne pepper (to taste)

Directions :

  1. Salt and pepper your ground beef, then start browning it in a decent-sized pan. While that’s on the stove…
  2. Prep your veggies: Chop up your shallot, bell pepper, and mince & mash your garlic. Cut the eggplant into fairly bite-sized cubes.
  3. Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. The Dreamfields brand is lower in carbs than normal pasta because it has lots of extra fiber in it, but the side of the box is very insistent that you DO NOT overcook the stuff. If you do, you won’t get the low-carb benefits, so be sure to set a timer and never walk away. Depending on the variety of pasta you’ve chosen, boil it for 8 to 9 minutes at a rolling boil, but drain it a minute or two sooner if you prefer your pasta al dente.
  4. Even if you’re using a fairly lean cut of ground beef, you’ll end up with a fair amount of oil in the bottom of your pan. This is great, because the eggplant is going to soak up all of that delicious fat. YUM! Remove browned beef from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving all that tasty oil behind. Then add in eggplant, bell pepper, shallot and garlic and even a little olive oil if the mixture starts sticking to the bottom. Toss your veggies around in the pan until the onions start to turn translucent, then add in dried oregano followed by the can of crushed tomatoes. Add the meat back in and bring the sauce to a slow boil. You can add in salt and pepper (or the above-mentioned cayenne pepper) to taste, at this point.
  5. Once you’ve drained your pasta and the sauce is simmering, add pasta directly to the pan. If there’s not enough room, never fear; just do it the other way around, pouring your sauce on top of the pasta and combining it all together.
  6. Ladle pasta into bowls, hit it with some freshly-ground Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!