Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

Today is National Spaghetti Day! Who comes up with this stuff anyway?

So here is a little history I am certain everyone is dying to know about spaghetti. It is often claimed that Marco Polo brought spaghetti to Italy after his travels to China. However, historical references to pasta exist in Italy prior to Polo's return. References to pasta-like doughs have been found amongst the Ancient Greeks and Romans, but it is thought that it was actually the Arabs who brought this type of noodles to Italy during their conquest of Sicily. The word spaghetti derives from the Italian 'spago', meaning 'thin string' or 'twine'. Under Italian law, dried pastas must be made with 100% durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina. Outside of Italy other flours are commonly used, such as wheat flour, though this results in softer pasta which cannot be cooked al dente in the traditional Italian way.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

I thought I would have to abandon all of the things I loved when I cut refined sugar and all things "white" from my diet. And then I discovered whole grain pasta. It did not look very appetizing; it was brown for goodness sake. But I find that whole grain pastas are much richer and heartier in taste than your refined (white) pastas. If you don't make a fuss about it, once you add the sauce to your dish, many won't even know the difference.

Why eat whole grain pasta? Whole grain contains considerable protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. High-fiber diets drive down harmful glucose, insulin, and fat levels in the blood and fiber is very kind to your mid-section. And who doesn't want a slim waistline? You will typically find Barilla and Healthy Harvest whole grain pasta varieties in your local grocery store. But if you can find it, I use Tinkyada's organic brown rice pasta.

Just because it is National Spaghetti Day does not mean we are doing your traditional spaghetti and meatballs!

Spaghetti with Braised Kale

1/2 lb whole grain spaghetti
1 handful dried porcini mushrooms
Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bunch of kale
1/4 c white wine
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Soak mushrooms in hot water for 15-20 minutes.

Heat approximately 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute the onion for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Chop the kale and add to the onion and garlic mixture. Add the wine and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the spaghetti to the kale mixture. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

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