Recipe: Red Lentil Pasta + Homemade Arrabbiata
I was in desperate need of some comfort food this week, and for me, comfort food means something warm and cheesy. Pasta is a simple go-to, but I like to try to keep things healthy by (1) using an enriched flour pasta alternative, (2) adding plenty of veggies, (3) using low-fat cheese and (4) making my own sauce. Pasta sauce in a jar, as you might know, tends to pack a lot of sugar, and scratch-made sauce is honestly super easy to put together...promise.
For this meal, I went with Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini (for reference, sedanini is like slightly curved, slightly smaller penne), which is made with 100% red lentil flour. One serving is 3/4 cup and contains 190 calories, 0.5g fat, 32g carbs and 13g protein. I get full quite easily with this pasta because it packs so much protein!
We baked the sedanini with homemade arrabbiata, a traditional Italian sauce made from garlic, tomatoes, dried red chili peppers and olive oil. The sauce took about an hour to simmer, but otherwise there was seriously nothing to it.
To go along with the pasta, we cooked some green peas and roasted some broccoli in the oven. I served my pasta with the veggies on top, but Ed likes to keep everything separate (he's a freak). A glass of red wine rounded out the meal! And our dogs loved eating the broccoli stems (only had two stems so gave Cooper a carrot, which he expressed was not preferable).
- 1 bag of Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini
- 1 bag of frozen steam-in-the-bag peas, cooked according to package directions
- 1-2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 T. oregano
- 1 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, whole
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch of basil, chopped
- Low-fat mozzarella cheese
1) In a large pan, sauté the onion with olive oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for just a few seconds.
2) In a bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands (it's ok to leave a few chunks). Transfer the tomatoes to the pot with the onions and garlic and bring to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and oregano and partially cover with a lid.
3) Allow the sauce to simmer on low for about an hour until it becomes thick and and the flavor is concentrated. Make sure to stir often, about every 10 minutes or so, so that the sugar in the tomatoes doesn't burn.
4) When the sauce is about halfway done, chop the broccoli into florets. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
5) Cook the pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook it (it might turn mushy if so).
6) Cook the peas according to package directions and set aside. Season with a bit of black pepper if desired.
7) Once the sauce is done, remove it from the heat and stir in a bit of salt plus the chopped basil, as well as a bit of olive oil. And the pasta and stir to coat.
8) Transfer the pasta to a 9x9 square baking dish and top with a bit of mozzarella cheese. Broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
9) Serve with broccoli, peas and wine, if desired!