Lighten fettuccine with veggies, sauce for healthful dinner

EATING WELL

June 29, 1993|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

Cathy, the family couch potato, returned from college this summer tuned into fitness.

She joined the health club, where she works out three days a week. She bought running shoes for alternate-day activity. And she joins me most Sundays for a 20- to 30-mile bike ride.

She also started eating healthy.

So when my birthday came along, she decided to give a small dinner party, featuring a fettuccine recipe she concocted herself.

The menu:

Appetizers: Mini crab cakes on stoned wheat crackers; spicy garbanzo dip on whole wheat pita; red, green and yellow sweet pepper strips.

Salad: Red leaf lettuce and fresh spinach, green and yellow squash circles, low fat vinaigrette dressing and hot Italian bread.

Entree: Fabulous 50 fettuccine and hot French bread.

Dessert: Fresh strawberries and Kahlua mousse (the real thing).

Fabulous 50 fettuccine

FOR EACH SERVING:

2-3 Italian plum tomatoes, cut in bite-size pieces

3-4 fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 artichoke quarters (canned), cut in bite-size morsels

6 fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips

leaves from 1 branch each of fresh thyme and oregano

3-4 fresh parsley clusters

1/2 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup tomato sauce

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 ounces fresh fettuccine

The cooking time for this recipe is quite short, so begin by preparing all ingredients as described above. The most important success factor in this dish is that the veggies not be overcooked.

Start a pot of water boiling for the fettuccine.

In a pot large enough to eventually hold all the vegetables, put tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat on high, until vegetables barely begin to cook. Remove from heat.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and garlic, then add mushrooms. Heat until mushrooms begin to wilt, then add artichokes. Cook about one minute, until artichokes are warm. Add these vegetables to the tomato mixture. Add parsley.

Drop fresh fettuccine into boiling water. Cook 2-4 minutes, according to package directions. Drain. Return to pot. Add just enough commercially prepared tomato sauce to moisten. Add half the Parmesan cheese. Toss to mix thoroughly.

Pile fettuccine on plates. Top with vegetable mixture, which should sit on top of the fettuccine, rather than being mixed in. Sprinkle with pine nuts and add 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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