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Oodles of Noodles! And Crickets Too.

“Butta la pasta!”

“Throw in the pasta” is an Italian expression that essentially means “I’m on my way home.” Just hearing the word “pasta” has me thinking of my favorite Italian recipes. It all starts with the noodle.

Pasta was traditionally made with a combination of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs, then formed into sheets or shapes to be boiled. According to the International Pasta Organisation, there are over 600 different shapes of pasta. Wow! With all the ingredients to mix with pasta, there are endless ways to enjoy it.

Most of us think we shouldn’t enjoy pasta if we are trying to watch our weight. In fact, a new study in the British Medical Journal found low glycemic-index foods, like pasta, digest more slowly, keeping you fuller for longer. This can result in a lower body weight and BMI (body mass index). As always, moderation is key. One half cup of pasta is an appropriate serving size. In Italy, pasta is part of the meal as the first course. It’s eaten before the salad, and is not considered a main dish. I’ve been trying to limit my portion rather than never allowing myself to enjoy pasta dishes.

Lately, I’ve been trying all the new “types” of pasta. As I was standing in the pasta section of the grocery store the other day, I was amazed at the number of different pastas that weren’t made of wheat! They look like the pasta I grew up with, but they are made with all sorts of other ingredients. There are so many different types and brands to try. Find the ones you love. With so many tasty pasta recipes to choose from, you’ll never run out of options. Mangiamo! (Let’s eat!)

Here’s the “noodle” on alternative noodles:

  1. Zoodles: Vegetables such as zucchini or sweet potato (“swoodles”) cut in the form of a noodle. Use a spiralizer to create all sorts of vegetable noodles, or buy them in your favorite grocery store already spiralized.
  2. Spaghetti Squash: First cook in the microwave or roast in the oven. Cut open, and clean out the seeds. Gently use a fork to pull apart the strands. Top with your favorite sauce. This filling, flavorful and simple recipe is my go-to way to enjoy spaghetti squash.
  3. Black Bean Pasta: Other legume pastas are made from chickpeas, split peas, mung beans and lentils. New products are appearing all the time on your grocery shelves, so try different brands and let us know your favorites. They offer a higher protein and gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta. Try this Black Bean Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce.
  4. Cricket Pasta: Yes, seriously! This slightly nutty-tasting pasta is made with 20% ground crickets and 80% flour, and is high in protein at 12 grams per serving. Find it in your specialty all-natural grocery stores.
  5. Shirataki Noodles: These gelatinous Japanese noodles are made from the konjac yam plant. They’re not only low-carb, but also practically calorie-free because they are made of glucomannan starch, an indigestible dietary fiber that contains zero carbohydrates. Practically flavorless, but very absorbent, so they are perfect for your favorite sauce.

    Buon appetito!

    Find your inner Italian with these delizioso pasta recipes:

    Search by “pasta” or “Italian” in your DinnerTime Recipe Box to find more yummy recipes.

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    Flavorful and high in protein.

    Super easy and super tasty!

    Easy to make and elegant enough for company.