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All About Pasta

All About Pasta

What's pasta made from?
What can I make with pasta?

Pasta is one of the top-five favorite foods in the United States. It comes in fun shapes and sizes, from bowties to wagon wheels to elbows. And it can be prepared in many delicious ways. In addition to being served with sauces and other toppings, pasta can add substance to casseroles, stews, and soups. Cook a little extra and you've got the beginnings of a cold pasta salad. back to top

What's pasta made from?
Pasta is part of the grain food group in MyPyramid. Most dried pasta is made from flour and may be enriched with nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Some pastas have eggs in the mix for flavor and added protein. Whole-wheat pasta, which is made from whole grains, is an especially good source of fiber. And there are pastas that are filled with cheese, mushrooms, or meat and made into shapes like ravioli or tortellini. You might find pasta that is made with spinach or tomatoes, but that's really just to add color and flavor. You still need to eat your veggies. back to top

What can I make with pasta?
Pasta is very easy to cook and goes with almost anything you can think of. For healthy pasta dishes, add some of the following to your favorite shape:
  • fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
  • garlic sautéed in a small amount of olive oil
  • leftover vegetables
  • lightly sautéed or steamed vegetables and Parmesan cheese
  • fat-free chili
  • any bean soup
  • fresh tomatoes and garlic
Think of cream or cheese sauces as an occasional treat. Pesto made with fresh basil, olive oil, pinenuts or walnuts, and garlic is delicious, but high in fat. Add vegetable broth to your favorite pesto to cut the fat without losing all that flavor. And remember, carbohydrates like pasta have only four calories per gram compared to fat, which has nine calories per gram. Don't be tricked out of eating pasta by one of those no carb fad diets. back to top

Last Modified Date: 3/30/2001
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