Noodle worship!

When you’re trying to lose weight, carbs have been equated to the devil. Pasta? Forget it. We can’t even look at a croissant or walk past a bagel shop without gaining a few inches around our waist. But then you learn about the benefits of whole grains. Then you hear “everything in moderation” is the key. What are you to do now?

There are ways to eat pasta and still stay on track for your weight-loss goals. Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D.N., founder of Capitol Nutrition Group in Washington, D.C. never lets her clients do something they can’t do for the rest of their life. “If you can’t imagine life without pasta, then don’t even try. Find a way to enjoy pasta that respects your taste preferences and your body,” she says.

Check out our other tasty tips for pasta-lovers on a calorie budget.

1. Don’t Deprive Yourself
If you eliminate a food you love, you will only want it more. When you finally eat it, “it’s like getting out of jail. You can’t help but overdo it because you’re finally free to eat it again,” says Scritchfield. Sound familiar? If you’re crazy for noodles, no sense in skipping out. Treat yourself to a small portion occasionally so you know your old favorite is always there. And try spaghetti squash on your days off, you’d never know it’s not the real thing!

2. Focus on Flavor
You’re less likely to overeat when each bite is super satisfying. Jazz up a bland bowl with sautéed grape tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. Try a new pesto, or toss in your favorite protein so that a little bit of pasta can go a long way. Our fave? Replacing heavy cream with white wine to make a killer creamy Alfredo sauce! And we do it for less than 450 calories.

3. Make It Whole Grain
There is a difference between eating a bagel and eating a small fist-sized portion of whole-grain pasta. “Not all carbohydrates are created equal,” says Mary Hartley, R.D., an expert for DietsInReview.com. “Nutrition experts recommend eating at least 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates, and those ‘carbs’ should come primarily from whole foods.” Try a whole-grain pasta, or get adventurous and test out alternative noodles like a brown rice pasta or (our favorite!) a brown rice-quinoa blend pasta.

4. Bulk Up on Veggies
If you’re going to have your favorite starchy carbohydrate, why not flood it with as many nutrients as possible? “Add a fist-size portion of sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives,” suggests Scritchfield. Try this pasta with roasted garden vegetables, and steam any wilted greens from your fridge into the sauce. It cooks down so much, you’ll hardly know they’re there.

5. Make it a Side Dish, not the Main Attraction
Focus on your veggies and lean protein, then “make a fist-sized portion of pasta as a side dish with a simple sauce of olive oil, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese,” Scritchfield suggests. That way, you can still have your favorite carb but as a supplement to your seasoned grilled chicken and fresh summer salad.

Now that we’ve got the nitty gritty outta the way let’s get to the fun part! Checkout our top pasta meals below. What’s yours?

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Pad See Eew

Serves 2 Pad See Ew 200g (7 oz) skinless pork belly, sliced into thin, bite-sized pieces 3 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil pinch of ground white pepper 2 tbsp vegetable oil 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 100g Chinese broccoli (gai larn), cut into bite-sized pieces 2 eggs, lightly whisked 1 qty homemade rice noodles or 350g store-bought fresh rice noodles 2 tsp dark soy sauce ½ tsp sugar chilli powder to serve Chilli Vinegar: ¼ cup white vinegar 1 long red chilli, finely sliced To make chilli vinegar, combine ingredients and set aside. Place the pork belly in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the light soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. Mix to combine. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the pork and stir-fry until almost cooked. Add the Chinese broccoli and stir-fry for another minute. Make a well in the centre and add the egg. Let the egg set and then mix through the remaining ingredients. Add the noodles, dark soy sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce and sugar. Stir-fry until well combined. Serve with the chilli vinegar and chilli powder. Homemade Rice Noodles Makes enough for a stir-fry for 2 people 1 cup rice flour 1/3 cup tapioca starch 1 tsp sea salt 1¼ cups water, plus extra if needed. vegetable oil Place rice flour, tapioca starch and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add ½ cup of water and whisk. Then add another ½ cup water and mix vigorously. Add the final ¼ cup of water and check consistency. It should be the consistency of a thin coconut milk. Rest for 30 minutes. Grease the bottom of two cake tins with vegetable oil. Check the consistency of the rice mixture again and add 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed. Pour in a thin layer of the rice flour mixture (no more than 2mm) into one of the cake tins. Rest the tin over a saucepan of boiling water and cover with a lid. Steam for 3-4 minutes or until just set. Brush the top of the noodle sheet with oil. Remove the tin from the heat and slice the noodle sheet into thick strands. Peel noodles out of the cake tin and place onto a greased tray. Repeat until mixture is finished. NOTES: These noodles are best made the day you’re using them. Keep them covered in the fridge until ready cook.

Source: @silviacollocaofficial

Ragù Napoletano, ‘O Raù, Italian National treasure!

Ingredients * 50 ml
extra-virgin olive oil * 2
large French shallots or 1 small brown onion * 400 g
chuck steak, cut into chunks * 200 g
beef cheeks * 300 g
pork ribs * 200 ml
red wine * 1 tbsp
tomato paste * 1½ litres
passata * sea salt, to tastePasta * 400 g
“00“pasta flour * 4
eggs * pinch of salt * semola (durum wheat flour), for dustingTo serve * grated parmesanCook's notes Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.Instructions This recipe will need to be begun 1 day in advance. Standing time: overnight 1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until starting to brown. Add the meat and the ribs in batches, if needed and cook until browned all over. Add the wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the tomato paste, passata and 500 ml (2 cups) water. Season to taste, keeping in mind that as the sauce slow cooks the flavour will intensify, so do not over season. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 4-6 hours (or even 8, if you can!). You know the sauce is ready when the meat falls apart, the sauce looks deep dark red and has left a coating on the side of the pan. Remove from the heat, stand until cool, then cover and refrigerate in the pan overnight to allow the flavours to mingle and settle. 2. For the pasta, place the flour, eggs and salt in a large bowl and mix until a dough comes together. Tip onto a floured bench and knead until a smooth dough forms. Cover in a beeswax wrap or plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. 3. Dust a workbench with semola (or “00” flour, if semola is hard to come by). Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 3-4 mm thick. This can take up to 10 minutes and it’s ok to use a pasta machine, if you have one. But make sure you don’t roll it too thinly, as this hand-cut pasta needs to be a little thicker than your usual tagliatelle. Once your dough is rolled, dust it with a little semola, roll it onto itself and cut it into 4-5 mm strips (as if you were making streamers). 4. When ready to serve, return the ragu to the stove and slowly reheat. Remove the bones from the cooked ribs and break up the meat if needed with a fork. 5. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for a few minutes or until al dente. Strain the tagliatelle onto a large serving platter dragging along a little pasta cooking water, add the ragù and toss well. Make sure the tagliatelle is perfectly coated in the sauce. Serve hot with a dusting of parmesan.

Source: @silviacollocaofficial

Are you even Italian if you don’t make pasta con tonno (tuna pasta) at least once a week??

This is one of the first dishes I learnt to make. It’s super easy and incredibly delicious. It’s also cooked in one pot! To give it extra flavour I used Capriccio tuna and capers and olives by Zuccato. These excellent ingredients are distributed by my dear friends at @basile_imports , so get in touch with them to find stockists near you! The penne, of course, are @barillaaus , because you really want to use pasta that knows how to do Al Dente!Ingredients * 2 tbsp
extra-virgin olive oil * 2
spring onions, thinly sliced  * 1
garlic clove, thinly sliced * 1
dried chilli, or to taste, finely chopped * 150 ml
dry white wine * 400 g
penne * 160 g
tinned tuna * 2 tbsp
capers, rinsed * 3-4 tbsp
pitted black olives * 400 g
can chopped tomatoes * salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste * torn parsley leaves, to serveCook's notes Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.Instructions 1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the spring onion, garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook out the alcohol. Add the penne, tuna, capers and olives and stir to combine well. Add the tomatoes and enough water so the pasta is submerged by 3-4 cm. 2. Season with salt and cook for 9-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. In this time the liquid will have mostly evaporated creating a thick and luscious sauce. If it seems too liquid, turn the heat up during the last minute of cooking to allow the water to evaporate. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Scatter with a few parsley leaves and serve.

Source: @silviacollocaofficial

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