Being alone with your thoughts in Central Park at night in 15 degree (but-feels-like-2) weather while wearing five layers of clothing and a pair of foot warmers on your hands is, well. Interesting.
There you are on a park bench, surrounded by the coats and bags of the members of your running group, which you are supposed to be watching, blasting Nicki Minaj from your phone so that you feel less vulnerably alone (and so that any predator-like homeless people will be scared away. Nicki is a force, people, not to be reckoned with). Just. Thinking.
Primarily you’re wondering whether you hear any suspicious characters lurking around any and every corner. Which then, of course, leads you to ponder what your mother would think if she knew where you were. (Conclusion – she would not be pleased. Then again, neither are your toes, which are now reaching varying degrees of numb…so really, who could blame her?)
Sometimes, you really are too dedicated for your own good.
And it’s quite satisfying.
Equally as satisfying as knowing that you have this healthy.delicious pasta to come home to. Win.
But wait, isn’t that an oxymoron?, you say. Healthy pasta?? Sounds weird.
Au contraire, mon ami. Too often, the New Year’s Resolution-haze in which we find ourselves at this time of year makes us want to throw pasta to the curb, deploring it for being “too rich”, “too high carb” or “too delicious”. But, as full-blooded food lovers, do we really think such a diet is sustainable? And if not, why even bother?
I am of the mentality that it’s better to make a lifestyle change than it is to adopt some kind of fad diet for a period of time. And for me, that means all things in moderation. Dessert and pasta included. And truly, it’s really not that hard to turn a pasta dish into something that’s really good for you.
Case in point. There are three.bunches of kale in this dish. Plus parsnips. Plus red wine which is chock full of antioxidants. Plus Barilla’s high fiber pasta, which is good for the soul and for your intestinal health. Yup, that’s pretty much what I want in my belly. Every night. Now that, my friends, is a “diet” I can live with. Forever.
Barilla actually has lots of great healthy pasta varieties, such as their White Fiber, Whole Grain, Veggie-infused, and Barilla Plus, which they were so kind to send me for some sampling. Not only that, but they were nice enough to offer a GIVEAWAY for my readers so that you all can cook up some good-for-you pasta meals as well! Two of you will win a package with a variety of these fabulous pastas. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling me what your favorite healthy pasta meal is. I will choose a winner next Wednesday, the 30th.
One year ago…Broccoli Basil Mac and Cheese
Three years ago…Slow-Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Arugula and Toasted Pecans
Four years ago…Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes and Black Olives
Pasta with Black Kale, Caramelized Onions and Parsnips
Serves 5-6, adapted from Cooking Light October 2010
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb parsnips, sliced diagonally
- 2 1/2 cups sliced onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 bunches black lacinato kale, trimmed and chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 12 oz uncooked penne pasta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips to the pan and cook until tender and browned, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Place in a large bowl and keep warm.
- Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in the kale and the broth. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add the drained pasta to the kale mixture. Stir in the parsnips, 1/2 cup cooking liquid, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Add remaining cooking liquid, if needed. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.