Thursday, March 24, 2011

Healthy alternative to an old favorite

The creamy topping on this red and green vegetable-studded macaroni and cheese is broiled, instead of baked, allowing the pasta mixture to stay moist and velvety with low-fat ricotta cheese. The low-fat version of ricotta tastes great, has a pleasant texture, and is an excellent source of protein.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup sweet 100s or other bite-size cherry tomatoes

1 clove garlic, minced10 ounces curly macaroni, fusilli, or elbow noodles

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch of crushed red pepper

1/2 cup coarsely shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces/60 g)

How to make it


Heat the oil in a 10-inch (25-cm) skillet or sauté pan over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the broccoli and onions and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and let stand.


Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente or firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cooking water. Leave the pasta in the colander.


Whisk the ricotta and 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the reserved cooking water in the pasta pot over medium heat until smooth. Add the vegetables, Parmesan, and crushed red pepper. Stir to blend. Toss in the pasta and combine to evenly distribute the sauce and vegetables. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 mL) of cooking water, if the pasta seems too dry. Heat through, stirring, for 3 minutes.


Coat a 9 × 13-inch (22 × 330-cm) oval gratin pan that can safely go under the broiler with nonstick cooking spray. Adjust the oven rack so that the top of the dish will be 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) from the broiler. Preheat the broiler.


Spread the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Broil until the top is golden and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Per serving: 317 calories, 10 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 15 g protein, 2 g fiber, 25 mg cholesterol, 161 mg sodium, 232 mg calcium

Source: Healthy Heart Miracle Diet

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