The wonders of pasta have delighted the world for a while now. It's the thing most people miss when dieting, and now shoppers are seeing new and improved varieties of the dried staple on the shelves. Whole wheat, organic, protein-fortified... Pasta has undergone a transformation. What was once a carb to be shunned by Adkins' dieters everywhere, it is quickly becoming a health food.
One of the advantages of pasta is its ability to be used in several ways. A package of dried spaghetti can be covered in a traditional tomato sauce or used in lo-mein dishes. It can be served hot with meat and cheese, boiled or baked. It can be served cold in fresh salads with oil or dressing.
Aside from the long cylindrical noodles, America has had a long-standing love affair with spaghetti's shorter, chubbier and tubular cousin, elbow macaroni. Macaroni and cheese has gone through a transformation of its own. What was once a convenient dish in a box, accompanied with a packet of dehydrated cheese, it is now reaching a new status on gourmet menus. Out with the cheese mix, and in with the gruyere, mozzerella and other fine cheeses, taking comfort food to a whole new level.
Now popularized by casserole dishes, pasta is once again enjoying the limelight as a filler to hearty meals. As the colder months start to fade, many will abandon the casserole recipes in search for lighter, fresher fare. The possibilities for a nice spring or summer meal are endless, so don't hesitate to use your imagination. The fresh new crop of vegetables are sneaking into produce sections everywhere, so start experimenting. Artichokes, peas, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, colorful bell peppers and even berries give pasta a lighter, fresher feel. Incorporate fish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and you're ready to enjoy a lovely meal.
Tomato and Basil Pasta
1 pkg. pasta of your choosing (penne or bowtie recommended)
1 can of Italian style diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce, Italian if you can find it.
fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
Boil your pasta according to package directions. In a pan, saute the crushed garlic until just golden. Add the can of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Allow to simmer. Drain the pasta; set aside. Add the fresh basil at the last moment, in order to keep its color and taste. You may chop it roughly in advance if you desire more of the flavor. Serve sauce over a bed of pasta. Top with cheese, if you wish.
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