September 19, 2012

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Fresh Sautéed Vegetables

There is so much veggie goodness in this bowl of whole-wheat pasta: spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and chard.

Most of those vegetables sound like our standard, run-of-the mill vegetables.  But, chard?  You mean that weird leafy green vegetable at the farmers' markets?  Yessiree!

Chard is just as versatile as other greens, like kale, spinach, and collard greens, and you can use it interchangeably with other greens.  Chard has a more bitter, earthy flavor compared to other greens.  It is full of Vitamins A, C, and K.  The pine nuts and cheese counteract the slight bitterness of the chard, and the white wine brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes.  The onions add that sweet, yet savory, taste.  The crushed red pepper flakes add that little kick.  The texture of the whole-wheat pasta is excellent for clinging onto the flavorful sauce.  What is an Italian dish without garlic?

Now, onto the "whole truth and nothing but the truth" with whole-wheat pasta.  Standard pastas are made with refined wheat flour; during the refining process, the outer bran shell and inner germ layer, which are full of nutrients, are removed from the grain, and the starch endosperm is left.  This strips wheat of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients.  Some nutrients get added back during manufacturing, but any nutrients added back are just a small fraction of what was initially removed.

100% whole-wheat pasta includes all layers of the wheat kernel; the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.  More importantly, since nothing is removed during processing, the whole-grain pasta contains more natural fiber and micronutrients.  And, because of the extra fiber, it tends to be more filling than normal white pasta.

See, I knew you could handle the truth about whole-wheat pasta. ;)

What do I love most about this dish?  It is light yet incredibly flavorful.  This recipe has uncomplicated preparation and such a delicious result.  Include this healthy, wonderful dish to your weekday meal arsenal.

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Fresh Sautéed Vegetables
Yields 4 servings

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch chard, trimmed and chopped*
2 bunches spinach, trimmed and chopped*
2 cups diced tomatoes (or 1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes with juices)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté until tender (about 8 minutes).  Add the greens and sauté until wilted (about 3 minutes).  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Stir in the tomatoes, wine, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the greens become tender.  Stir occasionally, and reason to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.  Drain the spaghetti and add it to the vegetable mixture; toss to combine.

Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl, and sprinkle with these, pine nuts, and serve.

* You may substitute any greens (spinach, chard, kale, etc.) in this recipe.  You should have 14 cups of the greens of your choice,

Source: Modified from Giada Di Laurentiis' Everyday Italian

1 comment:

  1. I like the link ;) This looks yummy! -Sarah


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