Often times pasta is a quick and delicious fix for a hungry stomach. However, there are healthy ways to make this classic dish and unhealthy ways to make it. So, how can we make a classic spaghetti dinner healthier and more delicious? A few simple suggestions from the Italian side of my family turns an ordinary marinara sauce into an amazing pasta night that friends and family continue to ask for.
Cook with whole grain and whole wheat pasta or choose a gluten-free pasta for less potential for bloating. You can choose to add salt to your water (as most Italians do), this is the only “seasoning” that the pasta will get. Italians say to make the water like the sea, but if you are avoiding salt for health reasons, this is not necessary for a delicious pasta.
Italian Marinara Sauce
Try to buy all organic and local ingredients, ensuring the greatest amount of nutrients are being brought into your body as well as benefiting a sustainable community around you. When you know you are bringing healthy things into your body and helping your community, your internal and external health are affected in a positive way.
2 or 3 anchovy fillets (packed with protein, omegas and iron)
2 tablespoons olive oil (boosts immune system, helps fight disease)
1 medium red onion, chopped (anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (anti-fungal, reduces high blood pressure)
1 can (6oz) organic tomato paste (antioxidants, reduces cholesterol)
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh basil or Italian seasonings (helps blood clotting, vitamin A, Magnesium)
Salt and pepper to taste
Before you begin to cook, notice how you feel. Are you in a hurry? Are you stressed? Are you unhappy? If these are your emotions, guard your mind, praise God and offer up a thankful prayer. Then begin cooking with an intention of being present, thankful and loving. You will enjoy the process and the food so much more!
Add olive oil and anchovies into a sauce pan and place on medium heat. As oil begins to heat and anchovies separate, add chopped red onions. Continue stirring mixture and allow onions to cook until clear, then add chopped garlic cloves. Stir in tomato paste and water or broth until completely combined. Sprinkle in fresh basil or Italian seasonings, and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow sauce to simmer on low for at least 10 minutes. Start with love and end with love—it makes all the difference in the world.