1 January 2012

In the GI News Kitchen

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.


‘Spunky’ cavatelli and broccoli
Pasta with broccoli and a strong earthy olive oil is a very popular winter dish for Italians and cavatelli seem like the ideal pasta choice. Its crevices create lots of little spaces where the broccoli sauce can nest. I’ve added a hint of mustard to my broccoli puree to give it a little ‘spunk’. Another option might be a few peperoncino (red pepper) flakes. Bring 4 litres (quarts) of water to the boil to cook the pasta while the broccoli is steaming. Serves 8.

2 large stalks of fresh broccoli (approximately 1lb/450g)
1–2 large cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise in quarters
1½ tbsp sharp mustard (Dijon type)
1/2 tsp salt
1lb/450g cavatelli pasta
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

‘Spunky’ cavatelli and broccoli

Separate the broccoli florets from the stems and cut them into small pieces. Peel the tough outer skin from the stems then cut them into small pieces. Place all the broccoli in a steam basket, wash and drain.
Add 2 cups of water to a large pot. Place the basket of broccoli in the pot. Add the garlic slices on top of the broccoli. Cover and steam gently for 15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Once cooked, transfer the broccoli-garlic mixture to a food processor. Reserve the cooking water. Pulse the broccoli mixture for 15 seconds. Add ½ cup of the reserved water. Pulse for another 15 seconds. Repeat with another ½ cup of water and another 15 seconds of pulsing. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts (litres) of water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente following the directions on the packet for timing.
Whisk together the mustard and the salt in a small dish with 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Add to the food processor. Pulse for another 15 seconds. Set aside and keep warm. (You will have about 2½ cups of this pureed sauce.)
Drain and tip the al dente pasta back into the saucepan and toss with the olive oil. Add in the broccoli mixture, toss thoroughly and serve with grated cheese.

Per serve
Energy: 880kJ/292cals; Protein 8g; Fat 9g (includes 1g saturated fat and 2mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 45g; Fibre 4g

Cut back on the food bills and enjoy fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low or moderate GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit with this Money Saving Meals recipe making the most of cauliflower, now in season for those readers in the midst of winter. For more recipes check out the Money Saving Meals website.

Cauliflower and Red Lentil Stew
When we spoke to Professor David Jenkins for GI News, we asked him if he would share his favourite low GI meal with us. ‘My wife has a very tasty stew,’ he said. ‘It’s like a very thick lentil soup with chunks of marinated cauliflower in it. I have to say that I could overeat on that quite easily.’ We tried it – it’s delicious, nutritious and perfect to kick start your meatless Mondays. Makes about 4–6 servings.

1 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 large cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 green pepper (capsicum), chopped
4 carrots, sliced or if large – diced
1 vegetable bouillon cube
½ cup water
1 cup red lentils, well rinsed
2 tbsp whole wheat flour

Cauliflower and Red Lentil Stew

Gently sauté the onions in the olive oil until translucent. Add oregano, cauliflower, pepper, carrots, bouillon cube and water. Stir until well mixed, cover and simmer until cauliflower is cooked (soft rather than still crispy).
While the cauliflower is cooking, add lentils to 3 cups of water in a saucepan and boil until lentils are soft.
Sprinkle the whole wheat flour over the cauliflower mixture and stir until the stew begins to thicken, add lentils and serve.

Per serve (6 serves)
Energy: 780kJ/185cals; Protein 12g; Fat 4g (includes 0.6g saturated fat and 0mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 21g; Fibre 9g

My Meatless Mondays
Book cover pic

Chickpea tagine with harissa
This recipe is an extract from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook, foreword by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, edited by Annie Rigg, published by Kyle books and available in good bookshops and online. The book is conveniently organised by season with menu plans for 52 weeks – so you never need to eat the same meal twice! Serves 4

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red pepper (capsicum), deseeded and diced
1 stick celery, chopped
1 courgette (zucchini), chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
pinch saffron stamens
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
220g/7oz can chopped tomatoes
2¾ cups vegetable stock
400g/14oz can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp clear honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
wholewheat or barley couscous harissa

Chickpea tagine with harissa

Tip the cumin and coriander seeds into a small dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for 30 seconds until fragrant. Lightly grind using a pestle and mortar. Soak the saffron stamens in1 tablespoon of boiling water.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes until tender but not coloured. Add the ground spices, garlic, grated ginger and cinnamon stick and continue to cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and tip the vegetables and the drained chickpeas into the pan. Stir to coat the veggies in the spiced mixture and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook for 20–25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the honey and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in bowls with whole wheat couscous and a good spoonful of harissa.

Per serve
Energy: 1200kJ/290cals; Protein 9g; Fat 12g (includes 2g saturated fat and 0mg cholesterol); Available carbohydrate 33g; Fibre 9g

Meatless Mondays