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Happy National Spaghetti Day

By Lisa Abraham Published: January 4, 2012

And you thought the holidays were over. Nope.

Before you stop your celebrations, the National Pasta Association has proclaimed today National Spaghetti Day. It seems in the association's polling, spaghetti beat out bowties and penne as America's favorite pasta, capturing 32 percent of the vote. (Personally, I'm partial to penne or cavatelli, or maybe angel hair, but no one asked me!)

To celebrate, the association has teamed up with chef Candice Kumai to develop some low-cal pasta recipes so you can celebrate without breaking any new year's resolutions on weight loss.

Here they are, enjoy!

Spaghetti and Spinach Pesto 
1 lb. Spaghetti, uncooked
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed, well drained
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 tbsp. margarine (or butter)
1/3 cup water
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese

In a blender (or food processor), combine spinach, oil, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and basil. Mix at medium speed until finely chopped. Melt margarine in water. With blender or processor running, gradually pour in melted margarine mixture until blended. Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Toss pesto with pasta. Sprinkle feta on top and serve.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 325 calories, 11g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 420 mg sodium

Zucchini and Tomata Spaghetti Frittata
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 cup of zucchini, cut length-wise, diced into cubes
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Egg Mixture
6 Eggs
3 tablespoons low-fat milk
3/4 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
Zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray

3/4 cup spaghetti, leftover pasta works great here too!

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Once boiling, add a generous amount of sea salt (it should taste like seawater). Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside in a colander.

Spray a large (oven safe, no plastic handles) sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray, add onions and place over medium heat. After about 1 minute, add the garlic as the onions start to sweat. Add the tomatoes and zucchini and cook until zucchini is al dente (soft but still has firmness), approximately 2 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add a pinch of salt. Next, stir in the cooked pasta, herbs and lemon zest, season with sea salt. Stir until mixture is fully incorporated.

Pour the egg and pasta mixture over the cooked vegetables on a medium low heat. Cook approximately 8-10 minutes. Finish off in the oven on a high broil for a golden brown color. Remove from the broiler after 2-3 minutes.

Serve straight from the pan, sliced up like a pizza pie! Garnish with additional Herbs de Provence and Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired and enjoy my friends!

Makes 4 Servings. Per Serving: 330 calories, 17g fat (7g saturated fat), 17g carbohydrate, 21g protein, 2g dietary fiber, 780 mg sodium.

Easy-Peasy Peanut Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Chicken

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Heaping 1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps or 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes, drained, and chopped
1 red bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 scallions, cut into strips

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and salt and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Scoop out 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta in a colander.

Rinse the pasta under cold running water for a minute or two to chill the noodles. Give them a few shakes to remove the excess water and set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring often, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, red-pepper flakes, and reserved pasta cooking water and cook until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the cooked chicken and drained noodles and serve sprinkled with the scallions.

Makes 4 Servings. Per Serving:  536 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans), 35 g protein, 11 g fiber, 20 g sugars, 962 mg sodium, 72 g carbohydrates, 49 mg cholesterol




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