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Cook it light: Delicious, fattening pasta now just delicious

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23 2012 5:19 p.m. MDT

Dear Jeanne: This is so good, but it's full of fat. Can you lighten it?

— Linda, Salt Lake City

Dear Linda: This was delicious, and full of fat, but now it's just delicious!

You can use any shape of pasta you like — farfalle, penne, cavatappi, etc.

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her website, jeannejones.com.

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FARFALLE WITH SPINACH, ASIAGO AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

1 pound farfalle pasta

1/4 cup butter, divided use

1 cup red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon flour

2 cups heavy cream

1 cube chicken bouillon

1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 pound chicken breast strips or 1 pound uncooked shrimp

1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach

1. Boil the pasta and drain. Set aside.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, melt half of the butter, and saute the onion and garlic. Add the flour and cook for a minute. Add the cream and chicken bouillon, and bring to a boil. Add the cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Set aside.

3. In a large pan, cook the chicken or shrimp in the other half of the butter and add to the sauce. Add the pasta and spinach. Stir to cover the pasta with the sauce until the spinach is slightly wilted.

Makes 6 servings.

REDUCED-FAT PASTA WITH SPINACH, ASIAGO AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

12 ounces whole-grain pasta

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 pound uncooked shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup fat-free chicken broth, divided use

2 cups fat-free half-and-half

1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (not oil-packed)

1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach

1. Boil the pasta and drain. Set aside and keep warm.

2. Cut the chicken into strips, about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray, and saute the chicken strips over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are no longer pink inside. If using shrimp, cook for about 2 minutes, and then turn them over. When the shrimp is pink and looks opaque, it is done. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Add the olive oil to the skillet, and then the red onion. Saute the onion, using chicken broth if necessary to prevent scorching, until soft. Add the garlic.

4. Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth to dissolve. Add the rest of the chicken broth to the dissolved cornstarch, and pour the mixture into the skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the half-and-half and bring back to a boil. Add the Asiago cheese and stir. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.

5. In a large bowl or pan, combine the chicken or shrimp, pasta, sauce and spinach, and stir until the spinach is slightly wilted.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 864 calories; 54 gm fat; 204 mg cholesterol; 508 mg sodium; 67 gm carbohydrates; 29 gm protein; 4 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 424 calories; 7 gm fat; 52 mg cholesterol; 361 mg sodium; 67 gm carbohydrates; 30 gm protein; 7 gm fiber.

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