One Pasta, Three Easy and Healthy Ways

Pasta Pluspoint_740x500
Enjoy a plate o’ goodness with these three healthy pasta recipes.

Pasta is definitely one of our go-to meals, but whipping up the same old tomato-based pasta dish can make you feel jelak. Did you know that there are a number of versatile ways to turn your favourite pastas into gastronomic creations that are perfectly healthy?

The great thing about pasta is that it’s easy to make and you can add in nutritious ingredients to make them healthier for kids to eat. Chopped broccoli, for example, are low in calories and is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, iron and potassium. Sautéing spinach into your dish is good too, as it’s loaded with vitamins, protein, calcium and is low in cholesterol. Mushrooms can aid in reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes; while capsicums, chili or jalapeño not only adds spice to your pasta dish but also provides beta carotene, and vitamins A and C.

Including these veggies into your pasta dishes is a great way to make healthy eating fun for your kids because veggies add colour and texture to your meals. Read on and discover how you can cook one pasta with the same set of ingredients, in three different ways.

Choosing your pasta

Healthy can be fun! Explore different pastas with different colours.
Healthy can be fun! Explore different pastas with different colours.

First up, let’s get to the basics. Did you know that there are lots of healthy pasta varieties with high nutritional values? There’s pasta made of whole grain, oat bran, quinoa, spinach, buckwheat or sprouted grain, which provide heart-healthy fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals as compared to the regular pasta. And the best part? These noodles come in different shapes and colours that your kids will find fun and hopefully, appetizing!

Pasta cooking 101

What makes a successful pasta dish? A great sauce and al dente pasta!
What makes a successful pasta dish? A great sauce and al dente pasta!

You would have heard it countless times before, that it’s a must to enjoy pasta al dente. Al dente literally means ‘to the tooth’ or ‘to the bite’ in Italian, and refers to cooking pasta just enough to ensure that it stays firm – not too crunchy or too soft. Pasta that is cooked al dente adds flair to your creation and is essential to enjoying your pasta dish. Undercooked pasta will be hard to chew and its stronger pasta taste might overpower the sauce. On the other hand, overcooked pasta can dilute the sauce and might make your dish mushy.

So, what’s the best way to ensure your pasta is al dente or ‘just right’? Well, there’s no better way than to actually bite into the pasta when it’s close to being cooked!

And since we are on the topic of having pasta that is ‘just right’, our chosen pasta for our recipes is Linguine – pasta that is wider than Spaghetti but narrower than Fettuccine.

Ingredients

  • 500 to 600 grams of Linguine pasta
  • 1 liter of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

Method

  1. Bring water to a boil and season it with salt to taste.
  2. When the water starts to boil, add in the pasta. Stir the pasta occasionally to avoid clumping at the bottom of the pan and to ensure that the pasta is evenly cooked.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the time indicated in the package, minus 1-2 minutes or until it is al dente.
  4. Once you are happy with your pasta, drain the water out and lightly coat the pasta with olive oil. Spread it out on a tray to cool. (The pasta will continue to cook from the heat until it’s completely cooled, getting you that perfect pasta.)
  5. Keep the drained water for use in the sauces.

Note: DO NOT wash cooked pasta in cold water as this will remove the starch off the pasta’s surface, which will make it difficult for the sauce to be absorbed by the pasta.

3 Healthy pasta recipes

Now that you have cooked your pasta, you can create three exciting healthy dishes for your kids.

Recipe 1: Linguine Pesto
Good for 1 serving. Multiply ingredients to increase the serving size.

Fresh Linguine Pesto with a dash of colour.
Fresh Linguine Pesto with a dash of colour.
Hide the broccoli in the sauce and get your kid to guess the secret ingredient!
Hide the broccoli in the sauce and get your kid to guess the secret ingredient!

Ingredients

  • 180 grams pasta
  • 1 small shitake mushroom, sliced
  • 2 slices streaky bacon, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons diced bell peppers, diced (use green, red and yellow bell peppers for colour)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoon pesto
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100ml pasta water

Method

  1. Heat up pan and keep it on medium to high heat. Add olive oil until it is hot enough.
  2. Cook the bacon until it becomes light brown.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in the broccoli and stir fry for 1 minute
  5. Add in the pasta water and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add in the pasta, mixing it evenly until the pasta absorbs the sauce.
  7. Add in the pesto and diced bell peppers for colour and crunch.
  8. Mix it well and serve the dish with garnish.

Recipe 2: Linguine Aglio Olio
Good for 1 serving. Multiply ingredients to increase the serving size.

Slices of bell pepper make a great garnish for Aglio Olio pasta.
Slices of bell pepper make a great garnish for Aglio Olio pasta.
Chili padi is not for the faint of heart! Add it to taste for this Aglio Olio recipe.
Chili padi is not for the faint of heart! Add it to taste for this Aglio Olio recipe.

Ingredients

  • 180 grams pasta
  • 1 small shitake mushroom, sliced
  • 2 slices streaky bacon, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons sliced bell peppers, sliced (use green, red and yellow bell peppers for colour)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sweet basil
  • 1 chilli padi
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100 ml pasta water

Method

  1. Heat up pan and keep it on medium to high heat. Add olive oil until it is hot enough.
  2. Fry the garlic and chili padi just before the garlic turns light brown.
  3. Add the bacon and cook until it becomes light brown.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in the pasta water and bring it to a boil.
  6. Add in the pasta and sliced bell peppers, and mix it evenly.
  7. Add in the chopped sweet basil, and serve the dish with garnish.

Recipe 3: Linguine Carbonara
Good for 1 serving. Multiply ingredients to increase the serving size.

There’s nothing better than a fresh egg yolk in Carbonara pasta.
There’s nothing better than a fresh egg yolk in Carbonara pasta.
You can substitute sweet basil for the spinach for a different taste.
You can substitute sweet basil for the spinach for a different taste.

Ingredients

  • 180 grams pasta
  • 1 small shitake mushroom, sliced
  • 2 slices streaky bacon, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon diced bell peppers, diced (use green, red and yellow bell peppers for colour)
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 300 ml cooking cream
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100ml pasta water

Method

  1. Heat up pan and keep it on medium to high heat. Add olive oil until it is hot enough.
  2. Cook the bacon until it becomes light brown.
  3. Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in the pasta water and cream, and mix well.
  5. Add in the pasta, mixing it evenly until the cream comes to a boil.
  6. Add in the baby spinach and diced bell peppers.
  7. Take the pan from the heat, and stir in the egg yolk immediately.
  8. Mix it well and serve the dish with garnish.

And there you have it! Three delicious recipes your kids will surely enjoy. Discover more versatile recipes that you can make with your choice pasta and kickstart healthy eating for your kids!

Get your ingredients and tools here:

NTUC FairPrice (Eastpoint Mall & YewTee Point), FairPrice Finest (Changi City Point, Waterway Point & Valley Point), and Cold Storage (Anchorpoint, Causeway Point & The Centrepoint) offers a variety of pastas and high-quality ingredients for your sauces.

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