Perfectly proportioned pasta

By jannid on Sep 02, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes
"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." – Sophia Loren

Purchasing pasta used to be so simple. All I had to do was buy a bag or box of the popular brand. There were only about three or four brands to choose from so the decision was easy. These days it seems that pasta has almost entirely engulfed Aisle 6. When the cereal aisle exploded in size, I doggedly stuck with my usual. But, with pasta, the allure of a new find was too strong. Was the Rustic Home style brand from Italy that cost the moon worth the price? Was the organic whole grain pasta really better for you? Was the brand that used some rather unique grains not found in traditional pasta tastier?

Some people choose, for a variety of reasons, to forgo all pasta. But for people like me, it made more sense to just know the calories ahead of time, count them, and enjoy the perfect amount that fits in to my day.

Looking more closely at the nutrition facts in the vast expanse of pasta options, I found that a cup of traditional pasta has 220 calories and 2.5g of fiber in each cup. That’s not bad. 220 calories is easy to fit into my day with just about any sauce — plus there's a little fiber, only need to measure out one serving. A single cup of whole what pasta has 174 calories and 6.3g of fiber which makes it a winner both in calories and simply amazing in the fiber department. Foods that are high in fiber are so filling you can eat less yet stay fuller longer, a major win in my book. Organic Whole Wheat with Flaxseed Pasta also scored well — 200 calories and 6.0g of fiber per cup.

The nutrition facts were all very nice, but, how do the different types compare in flavor? I decided to test drive whole wheat pasta on my family, safely topped with everyone's favorite sauce. I am not going to pretend that we all loved it right off the bat. I, for one, did not care for it. So next I tried a fiber and protein enriched brand that was declared by the entire family to be tastier than traditional pasta and of good texture. Perhaps gradually shifting away from regular pasta altered my taste buds and my attitude; but for whatever reason, the next time I tried whole wheat pasta, I loved it — and so did my family. In fact, unless it is a rustic ready made or homemade, we rarely have traditional pasta anymore.

A typical pasta sauce in a jar has a mere 109 calories in a serving which brings total per serving calories with pasta to 283. Add a tablespoon of Parmesan, a pretty salad or hot vegetable, and a side of white beans in garlic and herbs for a wonderful healthy low calorie meal that is filling, tasty, and low calorie. If you prefer to make a pasta meal from scratch instead of using jars and boxes, give one of these recipes a try!

In this recipe, I’ve paired a Cacciatore Sauce with gnocchi, but the sauce is delicious over any pasta you love…or over chicken…or eggplant…well, you get the picture!

Marg’s Tomato Wine & Feta Sauce is simple and simply fantastic!

Water Sauce for Pasta, try this light sauce for pasta that is ordinarily tossed with little else but olive oil or butter.

Broccoli Carrot Alfredo Sauce is a wonderful lighter version of the traditional artery clogging plate of deliciousness. Enjoy it over pasta, or eat it as a side dish!

About.com’s Vegetarian Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce is perfect for those that have very little time and want to come home to a delicious meal.

Some of us either have well muscled arms or pasta machines or very strong sons that like to knead dough.