Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pasta Alla "Not-Ka"

I first started making this dish last summer. It is absolutely delicious and so easy and quick to make. The recipe comes from a show that Lifetime aired last year called "Cook Yourself Thin" which is also available as a cook book. The purpose of the show/book is to take fattening foods and make a few changes to make them healthier while still tasting good. I've made a handful of the recipes, with this one being the best and likely only one that will make it to the blog. I made a few changes as well which further reduces the amount of calories and makes it healthier by using whole grain instead of white pasta. This meal has become a go to meal for us, in fact I'm about to heat up some leftovers for dinner. Enjoy!

Pasta Alla "Not-Ka"
Source: Cook Yourself Thin
Serves 4: 8oz
Calories per serving: 371 in the original recipe
Weight Watchers 7 points per servings (based off my changes that are in bold)

1-2 teaspoons olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil or canola oil)
3 cloves garlic (I used 1 T minced garlic)
1/2 cup chopped red onion (I use yellow or white onion)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes in juice, pureed in a food processor
Pinch red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne (I used Barilla’s whole grain)
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons evaporated nonfat milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I’ve also used an equal amount of Romano cheese made with goat’s milk)
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil (I didn’t measure the basil, I think I pulled about 6 leaves off of our plant)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the penne.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the 2 teaspoons oil with the garlic over low heat until the garlic begins to brown, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover, and cook until the onion is softened, about 2 more minutes.
4. Add the tomato, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the red pepper flakes.
5. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer very gently 10 minutes.
6. Stir in the cream and evaporated milk and simmer 1 more minute.

7. Meanwhile, after the sauce has cooked 5 minutes, add the penne to the boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the drained penne to the saucepan and simmer until the penne is al dente, 1 to 2 minutes, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if the mixture is dry. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, along with the basil and black pepper.

8. To serve, divide pasta among 4 serving bowls. Drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. (I didn’t drizzle oil over it and I mixed all of the cheese in while cooking)

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