With summer weather upon us, this is the time of year that many of us are looking to prepare lighter and healthier meals. Barilla, Italy’s #1 pasta, is the perfect Mediterranean cuisine to accompany long summer days and a great way to eat well without sacrificing great taste! As we celebrate Italian Heritage Month in Ontario this month, why not bring a piece of Italy to your patio.
To help inspire some healthy meal ideas, here are a couple of delicious pasta recipes along with some tips to help you make the most of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Barilla® Spaghetti with Garlic and Tomato
1 package of spaghetti
2 ½ cups fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 ½ tablespoons (40 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
Fresh torn basil, to taste
In a pan containing a little oil, sauté the garlic and remove it when it turns golden. Add the tomatoes into the pan, peeled and seeded. Salt and leave to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Cook the spaghetti in salt water and drain when still fairly firm. Dress with tomato sauce and serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.
Barilla® Pasta alla Norma
1 package of penne
1 medium-sized eggplant, diced
400 g canned tomatoes, crushed
1 medium-sized yellow onion, julienne
80 g ricotta salata (or diced mozzarella)
50 mL extra virgin olive oil
5 fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cut the eggplant into cubes and lightly salt. Leave them to draw out excess water. > Add the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion. Add the eggplant, tomato pulp, salt and pepper and cook for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the penne in salted boiling water and when cooked, toss the penne with the sauce. Add the basil and grated salted ricotta or diced mozzarella. Makes 4-6 servings.
Tips on how to make the most of the Mediterranean diet
– Get creative with vegetables. Use fresh produce that is high in antioxidants, such as spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. Try serving grilled peppers and zucchini as a side dish with fish or pasta.
– Craving some extra flavour? Instead of using salt, garnish your pasta with fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and mint. When preparing a salad, dress with olive oil and a bit of vinegar.
– Nothing beats the crunch of fresh nuts and seeds. Sprinkle some almonds or walnuts over your meal for extra protein. Lightly-toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also a tasty addition.
– Limit your intake of red meat and processed meats. Instead, opt for healthier choices such as grilled chicken or fish. For an extra kick, enhance your dishes with prawns, crabs or shrimp.
– Enjoy a glass of red wine with your meal – just remember to drink in moderation! Pair a red wine from Italy’s Chianti region with pasta and try a Pinot Noir with seafood.