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Cascade Kitchen: Following the Italians

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It can get quite exhausting trying to squeeze enough vegetables into each day to keep your cholesterol low and energy high. I’m here to offer you a break from the crunchy greens and raw cashews: pasta.

Pasta is a classic Italian cuisine people have been eating for centuries. Marco Polo is believed to be the one to have introduced pasta to Italy in the 12th century, but apparently he discovered it in China. There are over 600 shapes of pasta in this grand world. It can be prepared fresh, from scratch, or be purchased literally anywhere to make at home.

Unfortunately, the keto diet has caused well-educated people like ourselves to fear this delectable food. Regular pasta has oodles of iron, fibre, and protein. Many studies tell us that the Mediterranean diet (a diet of foods consumed around the Mediterranean region), which pasta is a big player in, is linked to a lower chance of heart disease and lower obesity rates. Therefore, everyone needs to calm down about pasta and embrace this Italian masterpiece.

This recipe still has veggies to give you extra nutrition. It can also be customized to your pleasing. You can even add olives or grill up some chicken to go alongside. The recipe I have is a reflection of the way I prepare the dish. It’s an easy-to-clean-up, one-pot meal and can be taken to class in a snap.

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Half a red onion
  • 551 ml (1 pt.) cherry tomatoes
  • 500-750 ml (2-3 cups) small dry pasta (like fusilli or rigatoni)
  • One handful fresh spinach
  • 8 oz. tub of bocconcini
  • 30-45 ml (2-3 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
  • Several basil leaves

Instructions:

  1. Heat skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red onion. After a few minutes add cherry tomatoes and cook until tomato skins crack open.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta once cooked.
  3. Place pasta and cooked ingredients into a fresh bowl. Add spinach, bocconcini, and balsamic vinegar. Combine well.
  4. Garnish with torn basil leaves. Enjoy!

Image: Carissa Wiens/The Cascade

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