Friday, July 17, 2009

Whole Wheat Rotini Carbonara

Making better dietary choices does not mean compromising on taste. I recently discovered the world of whole wheat pasta and wondered why I had not switched over earlier. I made the change from white rice to brown rice about a year ago, and have not looked back. The truth is, whole wheat foods have come a long way. Even a short 5 years ago, when I tried whole wheat pasta for the first time, it still tasted like sawdust or sandpaper (if either of us could imagine what these taste like). Not yet sold? Read on and then try this recipe out for yourself.

I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with left over part skim ricotta cheese (which I was still unable to finish), I surfed the internet for simple recipes which I could accomplish without having to buy many more ingredients. I stumbled upon a couple of discussion board posts about a 'Zuni Cafe Carbonara Recipe' ( Zuni Cafe Pasta alla Carbonara, from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers) and how delicious it was. To my surprise, the dish required only a few ingredients - most of which I already had, and some of which I could easily substitute with other ingredients. Plus, this was the perfect opportunity to find out whether whole wheat pasta was truly a good substitute for the real thing. After a few tweaks to the recipe, I came up with a delicious 'Whole Wheat Rotini Carbonara'.

What do you need?
5 slices of turkey bacon (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1/2 cup of part skim ricotta cheese
4 medium eggs
1 pound or 4 cups of uncooked whole wheat rotini (Barilla makes an excellent one)
1 cup of peas (frozen is excellent)
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper and salt to taste

What do you need to do?
Heat a sizable pan (medium heat), then add bacon
Cook bacon until it starts to crisp, then remove from heat
Beat eggs and ricotta cheese together in a bowl
Cook pasta in salt water until almost al dente
Microwave peas for a minute and then add to pasta
Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then drain
Put the pan with the bacon back on medium heat and add the pasta and peas
Add the ricotta and egg mixture, Parmesan cheese, canola oil, salt and pepper to the pan
Cook quickly, stirring consistently until the egg is cooked.

Serve alone or with your favorite meat and/or vegetables.

p.s- I served mine with pan grilled thinly sliced sirloin steak

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