Whole Wheat Orcchiette with Ricotta Walnut Sauce, Broccoli Rabe and Spicy Sausage
Sometimes you just can’t help but get cravings for gooey goodness that usually can only be found in calorically dense, high fat foods. Think again. I emulated this NYTs recipe Pasta with Walnut Sauce and bolstered it up with some spicy casing free, all natural chicken sausage. To slim it down, I used fat free ricotta cheese and to kick it up, I added an extra clove of garlic, chili flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
This pasta was creamy and delicious. The pureed walnut ricotta mixture tasted nutty and decadent and the broccoli rabe added a nice peppery balance to the velvety texture of the sauce. The use of fat free ricotta not only slimmed down the pasta, but combined with the ground walnuts created a viscous quality that was smoothed out with some pasta water. This dish had a nice balance of polyunsaturated fat from the walnuts, which lowers cholesterol, lean protein and calcium from the fat free ricotta and antioxidant, cancer fighting qualities from the broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe is actually a member of the turnip or Brassica family and has vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber!
Some people fear cheese for its high caloric and cholesterolly dense content, but at times it is imperative to let yourself indulge and enjoy the deliciousness and sometimes stink of cheese. It is important to keep in mind the key of moderation, as 1 oz (which looks like four dice) of most regular cheeses have 100 calories and 8+ grams of fat. Cholesterol and saturated fat in food have the ability to raise blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to the development of heart disease. There are some good alternative low fat and fat free cheese sources, such as laughing cow light, alpine lace and Jarlsberg lite, but unfortunately at the end of the day nothing really taste the same, so live a little…well just a little, 1 oz every now and then to be precise.