American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna's website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com. Pasta marinara with herb and caper sauce
Sweet springtime escarole
Most Italians enjoy the bitter taste inherent in escarole. And because it has its own confident and distinctive flavor, it pairs nicely with other flavours. The classic winter soup, Escarole and Beans, comes to mind. This recipe takes escarole in another direction. The sweetness of the shallots and grape tomatoes blends perfectly with the escarole, delivering a pleasant taste to all palates. Makes 4 x 1-cup serves
1 large head of escarole (450g/1lb)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
120g (4oz) shallots, thinly sliced horizontally
240g (8oz) grape tomatoes, halved vertically
30g (1oz) parmesan cheese shavings (optional)
Cut off approximately 2.5cm (1in) from the base of the escarole head. Separate the leaves and wash each leaf to remove all signs of dirt and grit. Do this con cura, which means very carefully. Coarsely chop.
Pour the water into a heavy-based casserole (Dutch oven), add the salt and heat. Toss in the escarole and stir. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10–12 minutes or until the escarole is tender. Stir 3–4 times.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add the escarole, including any juice, mix well and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with optional cheese shavings offered tableside.
Per serve (without the cheese shavings)
Energy: 1188kJ/ 89cals; Protein 3g; Fat 4g (includes less than 1g saturated fat and 10mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 10g; Fibre 3g
What’s escarole? With thanks to Wikipedia: ‘Escarole, or broad-leaved endive (Chicorum endiva) has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than the other varieties. Varieties or names include broad-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, Batavian endive, grumolo, scarola, and scarole. It is eaten like other greens, sautéed, chopped into soups and stews, or as part of a green salad.’
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A food processor or blender makes it easy, but you can simply chop the herbs and capers up very finely and mix them through the remaining sauce ingredients. Add other green vegetables to the cooking pasta like asparagus and broccolini 3 minutes before the end of cooking time. Serves 4
350g (12oz) dried pasta (spaghetti or your favourite pasta shape)
150g (5oz) green beans trimmed and sliced into 3–4 cm lengths.
1 cup firmly packed parsley (leaved picked)
¼ cup roughly chopped mint or dill
1 tbs capers, rinsed
¼ cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon extra
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
350g (12oz) mixed seafood marinara
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente following the directions on the packet for timing. In the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the green beans. While the pasta is cooking …
Blitz the herbs and capers in a food processor or blender for a few seconds until well chopped then add olive oil, lemon juice and mustard, season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and puree. Tip the sauce into a bowl until ready to use.
Sauté the garlic in the extra tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan for a few seconds. Add the seafood marinara mix and cook, stirring continuously, for 3 minutes or until done. Set aside keeping warm. When the pasta is al dente …
Drain and tip the beans and pasta back into the saucepan and tip the seafood into the pasta (scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan) along with the herb and caper sauce, tossing to combine well. Serve immediately.
Energy: 2450kJ/ 585cals; Protein 28g; Fat 22g (includes 3g saturated fat and 135mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 66g; Fibre 5.5g
Pasta marinara with herb and caper sauce