Monday, February 10, 2014

Apple, Fennel, Kale and Roasted Tomato Sprouted Whole Wheat Linguine—For Heart Health

I know what you’re thinking.  Apple? In pasta?   

Hold on just a minute, while I explain.

Think about chicken apple sausage, and the delicious way the savory and sweet marry together so beautifully.  Well, that’s what this dish does, without the meat.  The apple and fennel add sweetness, while the roasted grape tomatoes add a smoky, savory base.  And the kale?  Well, we do love kale.

I used a sprouted whole wheat pasta I found at the market, but you could substitute any whole wheat pasta.  It would also be delicious and sausage-like with a little fried sage garnish.  I didn’t have any sage when I made this dish, but that sounds good.

This dish is perfect for your meatless Monday menu, and will satisfy the meatless-skeptics in your household (if you have any).

Even better?  It’s ready in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.

And if you need one more reason to make this pasta tonight, do it for your heart.  February is American Heart Month , and that’s as good a reason as any to make sure you’re doing your heart good—focusing on eating lots of vegetables and fruits, getting enough fiber, and eating heart-healthy fats.    

This recipe fits the bill.  And how about this?  New research shows an apple a day truly does keep the doctor away.  In a recent study by Ohio State University of middle-aged adults, eating one apple a day for four weeks lowered levels of oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood by 40 percent.  Higher levels of oxidized LDL put you at higher risk for heart disease, so start eating those apples.

Here’s to a healthy heart—and a delicious dinner.

Apple, Fennel, Kale and Roasted Tomato Sprouted Whole Wheat Pasta

Serves 4

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 apple, shredded
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
Pinch of sea salt
1 small bunch kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
Splash of white wine, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
8 ounces sprouted whole wheat linguine (or any whole wheat pasta), cooked according to package directions, in well-salted water
¼ cup of reserved pasta water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the grape tomatoes on a sheet pan and roast, about 20 minutes, or until starting to brown and pop open. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add olive oil, fennel, apple, red pepper flakes and salt.  Sauté until the fennel and apple wilt, about 5 minutes.  Add the kale and continue to cook until kale is tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add a splash of white wine to the pan, cooking until the wine is reduced.  Add the tomatoes (and any juices from the pan) to the skillet and stir.  Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the vegetables and then add the pasta to the pan, along with about ¼ cup of reserved pasta water.  Stir and cook together for about another minute, until all of the pasta is incorporated with the vegetables.

You can sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese on the top, if you like.

Enjoy, preferably with someone you love.

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