Saturday, July 25, 2009

since when was pasta healthy?

For my healthy cooking I chose a recipe from my Cooking Light SuperFast Suppers cookbook that I had been wanting to make for awhile but it had never been at the very top of our list of meals to try. It had, in fact, been on the meal list the last two weeks, but was bumped both times for leftovers or eating out. This seemed like the perfect week to actually keep it on the meal plan.

The recipe comes from the “have it your way” section of the book. The idea is that you start with a “Basic Pasta" recipe and then customize your own sauce. The Basic Pasta makes enough for five servings and then each sauce recipe makes enough for one serving. You can try different sauces, or each person eating can choose their own sauce. I decided to try the Roasted Red Pepper Pasta (because, hello, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar in the same recipe? Sign me up) and the Asian-Style Pasta.
I had high hopes to love this meal, but my overall reaction to both sauces was, “Meh.” It was fine. I wanted to love it and it was just fine. (For some reason that sentence makes me think of “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” Go figure.) I enjoyed dipping my breadsticks in the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, if that counts for anything. The Asian-Style Pasta was slightly spicy for my taste, but that could be adjusted by cutting down on the crushed red pepper. Somebody’s response was, “You sure used a lot of dishes to make this.” Which is, I think, code for, “This was SO not worth my having to wash all those dishes.”

The recipe was easy to follow but I don’t think we would make either sauce again. There are too many other delicious pasta sauces out there to waste time and energy (and dirty dishes) on these.

But because I don’t want to leave you without something delicious to eat, here is the recipe for the best breadsticks in the world. I might be slightly biased because this is my mom’s recipe and these are the breadsticks I grew up eating, but I think they are great. My sister does something magic to them when she makes them and they get all toasted buttery on the bottom. I haven’t figured out how she does that…

Bread Sticks

1 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour (or more if necessary. *You want to add just enough flour that the dough can be handled without sticking to the counter. After your first 3 cups of flour add just a little at a time until you can poke your finger in the dough (about 1/2") and pull it out without any dough sticking to it.)

  • Place yeast, sugar, and water in your mixing bowl and let set for 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour and salt to your mixing bowl with the yeast mixture and knead for 3 minutes. (Don't use your regular kitchen beaters. Use a mixer that can handle bread dough or mix with a wooden spoon and then move the dough to the counter to knead by hand when it becomes too hard to stir.)
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. (Covered with the lid of your mixer or a hand towel if already on the counter.)
  • Sprinkle out some flour on your counter. Plop the dough down and then flip it over so that both sides have a coating of flour.
  • Roll out the dough to about 1/2" thick and then cut into strips with a pizza cutter.
  • Melt 6 Tbsp. margarine or butter onto a cookie sheet (12" X 17") and place bread sticks in pan. Flip the bread sticks over to coat both sides with margarine.
  • Sprinkle bread sticks with Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and sesame seeds. Another spice I sometimes sprinkle on is Italian Seasoning.
  • Let rise 30 minutes to an hour (covered with a hand towel or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray) until the bread sticks have almost doubled in size.
  • Bake at 375 for 13 to 18 minutes (middle rack in oven) until lightly browned on top.


Wendy said...

The breadsticks look divine--thanks for posting the recipe. I would also get excited for a recipe that calls for roasted red peppers and balsamic vinegar--yummy combo. Too bad it was just meh--but let me know if you find a successful recipe with that combo!

byufish said...

My sister makes the same breadsticks...I think the trick is to let them cook a little longer than you think you worked for me! And pasta sauces...I'm SURE there is a red pepper pasta sauce out there for you...I have a red pepper sauce that's mighty darn good...might need to send it to you! Still getting the BLOG POST ready about my Kansas trip....

Miss L said...

Best breadsticks, evah.

Karla said...

Is that the deal . . . you cook and someone else cleans up? :) You are a funny girl and I love reading these posts.

Adrienne said...

Holy heck. Breeeaaadstickkks. Calling me. I dub thee the Pioneer Woman part Deux.

Swistle said...

I am totally singing "In Your Eyes" now.