Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Put Our Walnuts Where ?

Cathy's Winning Walnut Basil Spaghetti

I say "winning" because, besides the abundance of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids (both as much as any meat dish out there!), EVERY MEMBER of my picky five-member family loves this dish, from age three on up through age 40+. And, this delicious, zesty, zero-cholesterol dish is easy to make, and the walnuts give it a delightful "meaty" texture without all the saturated fat!  I usually prefer to post dishes that encourage as much consumption as possible of fresh or lightly cooked veggies (as opposed to processed starches like pastas), but an occasional spaghetti dish can actually be good for you, and especially for active people and growing kids! Walnuts have tons of the healthy Omega-3 fat, which has been shown to be great for your heart, your skin, your brain, your joints and more. Although this is a very healthy dish, it is rich.  You shouldn't really eat calorie-laden pastas very often unless you are very thin and/or are very physically active!

1 box thin whole wheat spaghetti
1/3 medium eggplant, cut into thin strips
1 large handful fresh basil, maybe more, washed, bunched up and cut into strips
5-6 cloves fresh garlic, more if you love garlic, chopped or cut into strips
light virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp)
1 to 1 1/3 cups fresh walnuts, ground in a food processor
1 24 oz. jar of your favorite organic pasta sauce with little to no sugar added, less than 5gm per svg
red pepper flakes (add to your own plate if children are eating)
sea salt, to taste

1. Prepare spaghetti as directed, al dente,  draining and rinsing when done, then setting aside with a tiny bit of oil mixed in.  While the pasta is cooking, keep an eye on it and do steps 2 and 3:

2. Saute garlic first in a large pan. The idea is to create a "garlic flavored oil," one of the secrets here.

3.  Just before they are lightly browned, add the eggplant and saute 2-3 more minutes.

4.  Mix in the pasta sauce and bring to a simmer.

5.  Add the prepared spaghetti, mix thoroughly.

6.  Add the basil, mixing thoroughly. The basil must be abundant and fresh. Sorry, no exceptions here.

7.  Add the red pepper flakes or just the sea salt.  Enjoy!

Serves about 6-7 people.
Cooking time:  Approx. 30 minutes

Here's a wonderful link that delves deep into the
"wondrous walnut."