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‘Light’ tomato pasta is short on fat, long on flavor

SHARE ‘Light’ tomato pasta is short on fat, long on flavor

Dear Jeanne: This recipe is easy and delicious but loaded with fat and calories. Can you "fix it" and still keep the wonderful flavor? Thank you. — Nancy Spencer, Lakeland, Fla.

Dear Nancy: This is a delicious recipe, but I think two servings for all that pasta is a little too much — each serving would be 1,040 calories! I've taken out a lot of the fat and made it a more appropriately sized serving, and honestly, my family couldn't tell the difference! The flavors are so strong that you can really use less and have it turn out just fine. Make sure you use a freshly grated Parmesan!

Each serving contains approximately:

Original Recipe: 1,040 calories; 54 gm fat; 31 mg cholesterol; 1,278 mg sodium; 104 gm carbohydrates; 37 gm protein; 7 gm fiber.

Revised Recipe: 365 calories; 12 gm fat; 8 mg cholesterol; 453 mg sodium; 51 gm carbohydrates; 14 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.


1/2 cup pine nuts

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)

1/3 cup olive oil

5 whole garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon basil, dried

1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried

1/2 pound fettucine

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the water on to boil for the fettuccine.

2. Toast the pine nuts and grate the Parmesan cheese.

3. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand until tender. Drain and coarsly chop.

4. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, chili flakes, basil and thyme, and cook until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.

5. Cook the fettuccine al dente. Toss with the tomato mixture, pine nuts and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not in oil

1 cup boiling water

5 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1/2 pound fettuccine noodles

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the fettuccine.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Place the browned pine nuts on a paper towel and set aside.

3. Place the dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Pour the cup of boiling water over them and let them stand until tender. Then drain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid to add later. Coarsely chop the soaked tomatoes and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, chili flakes, basil and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

5. Add to the pan the liquid that was left after the tomatoes were drained, and reduce slightly. (You should have about a cup of sauce.)

6. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine al dente according to package directions. Drain thoroughly and toss with the sauce.

7. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of the pine nuts and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

My all-time favorite pasta salad has a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. I also love the fact that I can make it the night before and have it taste even better. You'll find it in my booklet "Pasta — Everyone's Favorite Food." Order it for $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope from PASTA, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She also is the author of 32 cookbooks, most recently "Jeanne Jones' Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy" (Rodale Press, $27.95). Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, (Deseret News), P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate