A healthy pasta dish that will appeal to any pastaholic!
The sauce is tomato based, flavored with onions,
garlic, capers, olives and fresh herbs.
One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to try and eat more fiber rich foods, and to eat more complex carbohydrates and less simple ones. Since there was no way I could give up pasta, I decided to try whole wheat pasta instead. My past experiences with whole wheat pasta were not favorable, so I was not expecting too much. The last whole wheat pasta I tried broke into pieces as you tried to eat it when cooked following the instructions, and had an unpleasant gummy texture. I noticed recently though, that the De Cecco pasta company was now offering there own version made with whole wheat semolina. Since De Cecco is known as one of the best pasta manufactures around, I decided to give their product a try. Knowing that the pasta itself may not be exactly what I was used to, I decided to make a zesty tomato based sauce to top it to overcome any deficiencies I found in the pasta. I was very surprised to find that the De Cecco pasta was indeed a step above any whole wheat pasta I had sampled in the past and that I plan to use it frequently in the future.
In my local grocery stores, De Cecco also offers whole wheat penne pasta which I plan to try next. I found however that as with all pasta, you should test the pasta a few minutes before the recommended cooking time is up, to ensure the pasta is as "al dente" as you like it. I ended up cooking my whole wheat pasta a minute or two longer than was recommended to get pasta that was firm to the bite but was cooked through. Since this whole project was an attempt to eat healthier, I decided to try and decrease the fat in my sauce by eliminating my usual addition of olive oil. Instead, I used diced peppered bacon for flavor that I browned and then drained. There was enough fat from the bacon remaining in the pot to sauté my onions and garlic nicely. The sauce is kind of a combination of both Amatriciana and a Puttanesca sauces.
2 Slices Bacon (I Used Thick Cut Peppered Bacon), Diced
1/2 Finely Chopped Small Onion
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 (28 Oz) Can Chopped Imported Tomatoes (I Use Pomi Brand From Parmalat)
Salt & Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
3 Teaspoons Capers, Drained & Chopped
12 Kalamata Olives, Pitted And Chopped
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Basil
1 Pound Whole Wheat Pasta (I Recommend De Cecco Brand!)
Grated Parmesan Cheese To Serve
Put the water on to boil for the pasta. Place the chopped bacon in a heavy saucepan, and cook until lightly browned. Drain out the excess fat and add the onions to the pot. Cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or two. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pot, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 15 minutes on low until thickened. Add the parsley, basil, capers and olives and keep warm until your pasta is cooked "al dente". Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add a large ladle full of sauce to the pasta and mix well, cooking for a minute or two on high to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Serve immediately, spooning additional sauce on each bowl of pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Deborah Mele 2004