YEARS ago when Italian immigrants arrived they showed us many ways with pasta that we had never heard of and today pasta is a regular on most Aussie dinner plates.
They say that pasta is the miracle food and we should be eating more of it so what's so great about pasta?
1. Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates.
2. Has a low Glycemic Index and very economical.
3. Pasta is a healthy choice for people with diabetics and also a favourite with bodybuilders and athletes.
4. Goes with most vegetables and protein and very easy to cook.
5. Very cheap and can help stretch a meal for those on a budget.
This could explain why it is one of Australia's most popular meal choices.
What I love about pasta is that it's so low in fat.
Where people can go wrong is what they put on top of the pasta, such as high fat creamy sauces, loads of high fat cheese, oil and fatty meats.
Adding such high saturated fat foods to pasta ruins its health benefits and can quickly pack on the kilos.
My favourite way and the healthiest way to enjoy pasta is to make tomato based sauces and add lots of vegetables.
Serve with a big bowl of salad and you can't go wrong.
Italian recipes tend to favour the use of garlic and the health benefits when eaten on a daily basis are that it may help to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
When fighting a cold garlic can act as a nasal decongestant, which is why garlic tablets are so popular during winter.
Garlic is also known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties as well.
High in carbohydrates it makes it a great energy food.
The worst thing you can do is over or under cook pasta.
If you struggle to cook the perfect 'al dente' pasta then the best way is make sure you have the water boiling when you add the raw pasta, have plenty of room for the pasta to expand and cook and then test from around 8 to 10 minutes, then take a strand and bite into it.
If the centre is still hard then it's not cooked enough.
Pasta looks and tastes better if it is not over cooked, so keep testing every couple of minutes until it is just cooked through.
Then pour into a colander and rinse with hot water to remove any left over starch.
Don't be too heavy handed when serving pasta, I recommend for women trying to lose weight one cup cooked and for men one and a half cups. Ciao
Penne Pasta in Creamy Bacon Sauce
* Recipe from Symply Too Good To Be True - Book 4
3 cups dried penne pasta
¾ cup onion or shallots diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic (in jar)
¾ cup bacon short cuts diced
1 x 375ml can evaporated light milk
¾ cup skim milk
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 sachet Garden Harvest creamy mushroom cup a soup (Continental®)
1 teaspoon salt reduced chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon cornflour
pepper to taste
Follow cooking instructions on pasta packet, leave to one side.
Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray, sauté onion, garlic and bacon until browned.
In a small bowl place both milks, parmesan cheese, soup sachet, stock powder, cornflour and whisk together.
Add to saucepan, stirring continuously until boiled.
Fold pasta gently through sauce until heated through. Pepper to taste.
Annette's cookbooks SYMPLY TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE 1-6 are sold in all good newsagencies or visit Annette's website www.symplytoogood.com.au for more recipes, tips and to check out her new 'Symply Slim & Healthy Mentoring Program'.