Saturday, March 28, 2009

Broccoli and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

Finding high protein meals for this diet has been simple. Those meals allow fat and any fruits and vegetables with a GI of 35 or lower. The only big restriction is keeping the meal carb and root vegetable free. We have fun cooking these nights and they usually allow us to dabble in the Indian food and spice we miss so much.

The high fiber/low fat meal however have started to get tedious. These meals are heavily restrictive as to what is allowed and have to be eaten for dinner 3 to 4 times a week. They require a whole wheat pasta, brown rice or low GI bean as a base and are complimented with low GI veggies and can only have enough fat added as is required for cooking. It's getting old finding new and interesting things. We can only have lentil stew, stir fry or pasta with tomato paste and grilled vegetables so many times before going nutty.

Thankfully the fella stumbled on a new source of low fat whole food cooking. Meals Matter is like the healthy cooking version of Epicurious from what I can tell in that it has user submitted recipes that are reviewed and easily searchable. It has nutritional information for the recipes too so that helped us make up a more exciting menu this week full of high fiber food without repeating our three go to dishes once again.

This combo of crispy broccoli and tangy roasted red pepper was delicious. I am confused about the amount of pasta the original recipe calls for however as the sauce was just barely enough to make two servings and now we have a ton of extra pasta awaiting usage in the fridge. So if you're a sauce whore like I am you might want to double the delicious pureed red pepper sauce. Next time I would also up the spices especially the red pepper flakes to give it more of a kick. Even on the bland side I loved it. Not to mention it practically cooks itself.

Broccoli and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

2 roasted red peppers (you can make them yourself, I use canned)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups broccoli florets
8 oz whole wheat penne (original recipe called for 16 oz but there isn't enough sauce to cover all that pasta)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, finely diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 teaspoon dried basil
4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Slice open peppers and wash out seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor with balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute. Scoop out the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set aside. Bring the water back to a boil.

Cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile place a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil. Cook garlic, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and increase the heat to medium. When the tomatoes begin to simmer, stir in pepper puree and broccoli; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in basil and remove from the heat.

Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, stirring to coat. Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish each with grated Parmesan.

Original recipe from Meals Matter site.

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