My husband, Scott, brought a single cookbook to our marriage called The New Basics Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 1989) by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins. The book was dog-eared, full of sticky notes with hand written memos and even had his name written on the inside cover - all courtesy of his mother, Barb. Instantly, that put a warm spot in my heart for my mother-in-law. The time she took to encourage Scott to cook real food was so admirable. The cookbook is jam-packed with a plethora of cooking and food essentials. We still refer to it occasionally and are amazed at the new things we learn.
This month’s Recipe Redux theme is Grab a Book & Cook. It offers an opportunity for me to transform one of the culinary basics in this cookbook. With a charge to redux the recipe on either page 42 or 142 in honor of the Recipe Redux’s 42nd month, I flipped to page 42 and it was Alice Waters’ Bruschetta. Since I couldn’t dare mess with one of Alice’s recipes, I chose to redux page 142: Basil Alfredo Pasta. Who doesn’t love a creamy sauce over pasta? Let’s see if we can do it a bit healthier, but maintain the rich flavor of the original recipe.
The original recipe calls for heavy whipping cream and chevre cheese (aka goat cheese) to make the Alfredo sauce, but I am going to make my sauce with a tomato base and add a hint of creaminess with part-skim ricotta cheese . The sauce will be more pink than white. Plus, I am going to give it a nutrition boost with a veggie pasta made with a spinach, tomato and carrots. To be festive, I am using both red and green pasta for this recipe.
I love adding cooked tomatoes to my pasta as they are jam-packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that helps defend your cell health. (For men, it’s particularly beneficial for prostate health). Plus, add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the beneficial carotenoids absorb into your blood stream more quickly.
Chunky Tomato, Basil, Ricotta Alfredo Pasta
Serves 2 (1 cup each)
1/2 cup tomato penne,
1/2 cup spinach rigatoni
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
2 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon part-skim ricotta cheese
A dash of salt
1 tablespoon shaved parmesan
To make pasta, fill a medium pot 3/4 of the way with water, bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 10 - 11 minutes. Remove from heat and strain in a colander.
In the meantime, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, add olive oil and garlic. Saute for a minute. Add tomatoes and basil. Stir together and allow the flavors to meld and the liquid from the tomatoes to be released. Add the dollop of ricotta cheese. Stir together until combined. Heat for another minute.
Divide pasta into bowls and put sauce over pasta. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 399, Total Fat: 11 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 80 mg, Sodium: 122 mg, Carbohydrates: 61 g, Dietary Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 15 g
Happy & healthy holidays!
Enjoy eating simply,