If you think that pasta is off limits when you’re trying to lose weight, think again. Italians eat pasta nearly every day, yet the obesity rate in Italy is one of the lowest in Europe. It’s all about portion size and what Italians eat with their pasta.
This recipe is a good example. It’s loaded with vegetables and adorned with shrimp, both mainstays of the Mediterranean diet. And because this is an Italian dish, there’s Parmesan cheese too.
Everything, including the pasta, cooks together in one pot. You start with dry pasta and water, setting a timer for how long the package directions state, for penne about 10 minutes. Then you add the remaining ingredients in stages until everything is fully cooked, which takes only about 15 minutes. The result is a delicious entree that tastes like it took lots of effort. (Shh. Don’t tell anyone how easy it was.)
I adapted the recipe from Epicurious, which says that it serves 4. If you’re a WW member, 4 servings may seem generous. Do as the Italians do and serve yourself a smaller portion. Remember, it’s all about eating delicious food in moderation. This is living La dolce vita!
12 oz. short pasta, such as penne or fusilli
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz.) bag frozen broccoli florets
6 oz. green beans, preferably haricots verts, trimmed
8 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Red pepper flakes (for serving; optional)
Place pasta in a large, wide-bottomed pot or large wide, straight-sided pan. Add garlic, salt, black pepper and 3 1/2 cups hot water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover and cook, setting a timer for cooking the pasta according to package directions and stirring often.
When 5 minutes remain on timer, stir in broccoli and green beans. Cover pot and return to a boil. (If pot starts to dry out, add another 1/2 cup water.)
When 2 minutes remain on timer, stir in shrimp, tomatoes, peas and butter. Cover and continue to cook 2 minutes, then uncover and cook, stirring, until pasta is tender, shrimp are cooked through and water is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute more.
Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and toss to coat.
Divide pasta among 4 plates. Top with basil, additional Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if using.