Can’t face pasta and sauce again? Zehra Jemal gets creative with this perennial pantry staple.
1. Mini pasta frittatas
Replace the usual sandwich with this lunchbox treat. Cook 1 cup mini pasta shapes according to packet instructions. Drain and cool slightly in a large bowl. Add 6 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup semi-dried tomatoes, 200g chopped ham and 1 cup grated low-fat cheese. Mix well and spoon into a large, greased 6-hole muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C, until golden.
2. Mix it up
Pasta is a great alternative to rice. Serve a Thai or Indian curry over wholemeal pasta, or put a twist on fried rice by using chopped, cooked pasta instead.
3. Baked Bolognese
Put a twist on the traditional. In a baking dish, ladle Bolognese over 2 1/2 cups cooked mini penne pasta. Top with 3/4 cup grated low-fat cheese and grill for a few minutes, until cheese melts. Garnish with parsley and serve.
4. Stir-fry swap
No noodles in the pantry? Use pasta instead! Simply replace Thai rice noodles or Udon noodles with an equal amount of cooked angel hair pasta or spaghetti. Toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and serve with your stir-fry.
5. Hearty minestrone
Bulk up a simple tomato soup into a super-quick minestrone. Prepare a can of tomato soup and add 1/2 cup pasta spirals. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked. Add 1 cup each frozen vegies and legumes halfway through cooking. Serve with herbs.
6. Light lunch
Leftover pasta? Take it to work with 1 can tuna, 1 small can corn and any vegies you have in the fridge (we like tomato and avocado). Gently toss and drizzle with olive oil or a light salad dressing for a satisfying lunch.
7. Mediterranean pasta salad
A delicious take on a basic pasta salad. Cook 200g linguine according to packet instructions. Drain and combine with 1 large, seeded and thinly sliced red or yellow capsicum, 1 punnet halved cherry tomatoes, 200g reduced-fat feta and 1/4 cup sliced black olives. Toss with 200g baby spinach leaves and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
8. Easy mac n’ cheese
Make this family treat a little healthier: Cook 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder and 160g grated low-fat cheese in a saucepan over medium heat until cheese melts. Combine with cooked wholemeal pasta and finely chopped, steamed cauliflower. Serve with a salad.
9. Ravioli casserole
Tasty and healthy! Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a thin layer of tomato pasta sauce. Place a single layer of wholegrain ravioli over sauce (about 200g). Top with another layer of sauce and 450g chopped broccoli. Add another layer of ravioli, more sauce and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 200°C for 40 minutes.
10. Pasta creations
Think of pasta as a blank canvas for whatever you have left in your fridge. Combine cooked pasta with lemon juice, capers and a can of chickpeas. Or, mix it with leftover cooked chicken, a bit of low-fat mayonnaise, lemon pepper and dried basil. Raid the fridge and get creative!