Cheers to Great Food, Good Health…and Pasta!
When it comes to great food and good health, pasta is a perfect food to fit into healthful eating patterns that promote better health outcomes. Pasta is showcased throughout a new cookbook published in early February titled Cooking à la Heart, a comprehensive cookbook that celebrates plant-forward food cultures from around the world. While the book is focused on reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular wellness, more than anything the book is focused on easy, delicious recipes that any home cook can master.
Cooking à la Heart was first published in the mid-1980s as part of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research study on cardiovascular health. Newer versions were published in the early 1990s and early 2000s. Today’s version is completely updated to reflect new research insights as well as food and cooking trends.
Research shows home cooks want to use fewer ingredients and less time to prepare meals. They want to make familiar dishes with a new twist. And many, especially younger consumers, are seeking ingredients that have a good sustainability story to tell from both an environmental and social point of view.
Pasta fits with so many of these trends and consumer demands. It’s a familiar and affordable ingredient that can be paired with other ingredients, like fresh produce, to create delicious meals the whole family will love. Research from the International Food Information Council shows that “fresh” is the top term consumers associate with healthy foods. Cooking à la Heart includes many pasta recipes that pair pasta with produce, like a Greek Orzo Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes, Penne with Spicy North African-Style Carrot Sauce, Lentil Fennel Lasagna, and Roasted Red Pepper Fettucine.
Pasta is also an ingredient with a wonderful sustainability story to tell. This year’s National Nutrition Month theme is “Fuel for the Future”, which encourages people to eat with sustainability in mind. Dry pasta is a convenient, shelf-stable ingredient that will last indefinitely. You never have to worry about pasta going bad in the pantry. It’s a comforting source of nutrition that pairs well with so many flavor profiles and in many recipes the flavor improves over time when pasta is paired with ingredients like tomato-based sauces, which makes eating and enjoying leftovers the next day a joy.
Roasted Red Pepper Fettucine is definitely one of those recipes that gets better the longer the noodles interact with the sauce. For more recipes like this, order a copy of Cooking à la Heart. The book is available everywhere books are sold.
RECIPE: Roasted Red Pepper Fettucine
By Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND, founder & president of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting and co-author of Cooking à la Heart: 500 Easy and Delicious Recipes That Make Every Meal Heart Healthy