Hi everyone. I received a comment requesting options for healthy Mac n‘ Cheese type comfort food. I regret to say that these are usually not worth your time, energy or calories. Sorry, but that is just how I feel. Why eat a Mac n’ Cheese with nasty no-fat cheese that tastes like bland rubber? You deserve better! I feel angry and deprived when I eat “healthified” comfort food that tastes nothing like the real thing. How about eating nutrient rich food most of the time and have my tasty, full -fat -artery- clogging Mac n’ Cheese once every two months? That way, you can enjoy it almost guilt free.
As for other comfort food options that are a bit better for you, try a whole wheat pasta dish that doesn’t require much cheese. Pasta Alla Foriana from the Silver Palate Cookbook was first introduced to me by my sister about 20 years ago and it is still one of my favorites. I have modified it a bit to make it a little more healthy . Here it is:
Modified Pasta Alla Foriana:
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti (Barilla brand has a new Whole Grain pasta that actually looks like real color pasta)
8 anchovy fillets (can also use anchovie paste-don’t be intimidated-just buy it!)
1 cup olive oil
3 TBS salt for boiling pasta
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped walnuts (Omega 3s-good for your heart)
½ cup pine nuts
½ tsp oregano
1 cup golden raisins (high in fiber AND IRON)
6 flakes crushed red pepper
½ cup chopped parsley (look, it’s a healthy green with vitamin C, iron and beta carotine!)
Fresh Parmesan to taste
Pour olive oil into a frying pan and set over low heat. Add the bay leaf and garlic. When the garlic starts bouncing about, add anchovies, moving them around with a wooden spoon until the anchovies dissolve). Stir well. Add the parsley and oregano. Stir. Grind in a little black pepper. Finally, add the red pepper flakes, chopped walnuts, pine nuts and raisins. Stir all ingredients and let simmer over low heat. Do not allow raisins to burn.
Boil spaghetti in a gallon of salted water according to directions. Drain and immediately combine with sauce in the skillet. Transfer to bowl and garnish with parsley and parmesan. Soooooo tasty! Enjoy!
P.S. In response to a comment: Yes, canned, diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for fresh ones, but some brands are smaller dice than others and can be mush. Del Monte is usually pretty good. It also depends on whether or not you are using it for a stew or not. You may need separate chunks and a lot of the canned stuff is just too watery.