There are days when nothing will do but a bowl of pasta. Days like those after a great run or after a long day studying or working with little time to prepare a huge meal. Or for no reason at all but a craving for a big helping of lasagna/ spaghetti / fettucini. I can almost hear the collective questioning: Pasta, you say? Isn't pasta high in calories and carbs? Yes, but that doesn't matter on these days. All that matters is indulging in something comforting and tasty.
For me, it is easy to over-indulge in any kind of pasta but I never worry too much because, at home, most of my pasta dishes are in essence conveyors of vegetables. I use it as an opportunity to get extra servings of vegetables. And whole wheat pasta are always my first choice. Not only because it is more wholesome and a low gylcemic food but simply because the earthy taste and chewiness are what I'm after.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Sweet Peppers and Goat Cheese
4 oz whole wheat pasta *
1 1/2 to 2 lbs sweet peppers, sliced
1/4 cup diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 cup plain goat cheese
1/4 lb pancetta or bacon**
1. Bring 4 to 5 cups of water to boil for pasta. Add two teaspoons of salt and the pasta. Return to a boil and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain. Set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, saute the peppers together with the onion, garlic, and rosemary over medium heat for 10 minutes. You want the peppers slightly softened but not macerated. Stir in the crushed pepper, and season with salt. Add the cooked pasta and goat cheese. Toss well and serve with crumbled bits of pancetta or bacon.
* Whole wheat spaghetti or penne is suggested.
** Cooking the pancetta or bacon in the oven is a great way to get rid of excess fat that would otherwise have accumulated in a skillet. Set the oven to 400 degrees F, place a rack on a baking sheet and lay the slices of cured meat flat on the rack. Bake for 10 and 15 minutes until brown and crispy.