Making linguine imperial less lethal

July 17, 1996|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,KNIGHT-RIDDER/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Cream, butter, egg yolks and cheese can inflate the fat and calories in a recipe faster than any other ingredients. When all four combine in one recipe -- watch out.

Reader Ellie Ramsey discovered this when she clipped a recipe for linguine imperial from the "Creme de Colorado Cookbook" published by the Junior League of Denver.

The original seafood recipe had a whopping 929 calories and 62 grams of fat per serving -- more fat in one dish than a person on a 2,000-calore-a-day-diet should consume in an entire day.

The streamlined recipe, lighter linguine imperial, reduced the fat by more than half and also sliced off 510 calories, but retained the original creamy, cheesy flavor.

It also drastically reduced the amount of butter, cream, cheese and seafood, and eliminated the egg yolks. In addition to being high in fat, the egg yolks in the original recipe weren't cooked, which meant they were a potential source for salmonella poisoning.

The new recipe is higher in fat and calories than most Eat for Life recipes, because it borrows richness and flavor from butter, cream and Parmesan cheese.

However, if you're trying to maintain a low-fat, low-calorie regimen, it's best to change your eating habits gradually.

When Ramsey is ready to try an even lighter linguine imperial, she can follow these four suggestions:

Substitute evaporated skim milk for the heavy cream.

Reduce the butter to 1 tablespoon.

Reduce the amount of Parmesan cheese to 2 tablespoons.

Reduce portion size.

Linguine imperial

Makes 4 servings

1/4 pound butter (1 stick)

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil

1 pound imitation crab or 1 1/2 pounds fresh crab meat

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 ounces linguine, cooked and drained

In a large skillet, heat together the butter and oil. Saute the mushrooms, garlic, parsley and basil together for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir in the crab and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, cream and salt. In a heated serving dish, toss the warm linguine with the egg mixture. Add the crab mixture and toss again until combined. Serve immediately.

Per serving (made with imitation crab): 929 calories; 33.8 g protein; 60.9 g carbohydrate; 62 g fat; 60 percent of calories from fat; 449.7 mg cholesterol; 1,732 mg sodium

Lighter linguine imperial

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

3/4 pound lump-style imitation crab

1 cup bottled clam juice

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

9 ounces linguine, cooked according to package directions

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter together over medium-low heat. Saute the mushrooms 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the garlic, parsley and basil and saute 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring often. Add the imitation crab, clam juice and cream and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 4 to 5 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch with the 2 tablespoons of sherry to make a thin paste. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the crab sauce and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove sauce from heat.

Drain the pasta and place in a large heated bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and toss quickly. Immediately pour the crab sauce over the pasta and toss again. Serve at once.

Per serving: 419 calories; 17.9 g protein; 33 g carbohydrate; 24.6 g fat; 51 percent of calories from fat; 78 mg cholesterol; 1,145 mg sodium

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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