Saturday, July 6, 2013

Garden Fresh Pasta

Eating during chemo treatments can be tricky business.  You just never know what you will like eating or what your system will tolerate.  I try my hardest to eat fresh food and healthy food but some days I crave nothing but my husband's homemade chicken broth or mashed potatoes or chocolate chips cookies.  Oops.

When I am feeling good, I always try to cook and get back on track with my eating.  I love pasta but I cannot always tolerate a tomato based marinara sauce.  Fresh tomatoes go down just fine but tomato sauce can cause an evening nursing a bottle of Tums.  

Instead of a jarred or canned sauce, this simple and fresh pasta dish uses cherry tomatoes sauteed along with fresh garlic and other herbs from my small patio garden.  A little turkey pepperoni adds flavor without the fat of regular pepperoni and fat free feta cheese rounds out the dish with its creamy bite.  Enjoy!

Garden Fresh Pasta (serves 4)

3 cups Barilla Rotini pasta (sometimes I use the whole wheat or a combo of regular and wheat)
1 cup reserved pasta water
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
4 cloves garlic 
1 container of fat free feta cheese (I use Trader Joe's)
20 slices of Hormel turkey pepperoni
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Don't forget to salt the water and reserve 1 cup of the cooked pasta water before draining.  While pasta is cooking, chop tomatoes and mince the garlic.  Heat a large skillet on medium heat and spray with olive oil from a Misto or use olive oil cooking spray.  Cook tomatoes until they soften and "burst". Add minced garlic to tomatoes and stir to make sure the garlic doesn't burn. Roughly chop pepperoni and add to tomatoes and garlic and heat through.  Mince all herbs finely and add to the pan.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Cook until herbs start to wilt.  Add the cooked pasta into the pan along with the cup of reserved cooking water.  Toss thoroughly to coat the pasta. Add the feta cheese and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if you like a bit of heat.  Place in serving bowls and garnish with a bit of chopped basil. 

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