Picture this: you are in the Eternal City of Rome in the heart of Italy. You are sitting in a quaint little tattoria and the waiter places the simplest pasta dish down in front of you. Yet, for all its simplicity, your first bite is nothing short of incredible. This installment in our “Recipe of the Week” series features that dish: Capellini Pomodoro.
This is the most recent recipe in a series of them, so if you missed the others, check them out by following the links below:
- Recipe Of The Week – Banana And Peanut Butter Oatmeal
- Recipe of the Week – Banana Carrot Pancakes
- Recipe Of The Week – Easy Beef And Bean Burritos
- Recipe Of The Week: Panko Chicken With Wilted Greens and Fried Eggs
- Recipe Of The Week: Grilled Ribeye Steak and Cheese Sandwich
- Recipe of the Week – Part 6: My Ultimate Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
If you are unfamiliar with that name, Capellini is another name for Angel Hair and Pomodoro is a simple tomato sauce. I first had this dish when my wife and I were able to travel to Italy for our honeymoon over 10 years ago. Of all the incredible dishes we had there, this is the one that has stuck with me since then.
The freshness of the ingredients was unlike anything I had ever tasted before in any Italian restaurant. Now let me be clear. I live in the Northeastern United States, in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. If there is a place for some of the best Italian cooking in the world, I’m living in it.
However, nothing could prepare me for the difference I would experience in Italy. Everything tasted like it was just picked in the backyard. Everything tasted simpler and healthier. It wasn’t the typical, loaded with cheese, fair you would expect.
Pomodoro is the poster child for this type of simple cooking and I worked really hard to create a version at home that could even hold a candle to the one we had in Rome.
I am sharing this recipe with you because it is light, healthy, and perfect for those looking to eat Italian food without the guilt.
The idea to share was inspired by our recent article on what is potentially Italy’s most famous herb: Basil, which just so happens to be one of the stars in this dish.
So sit back and enjoy the pictures as I try to bring you across the Atlantic to the home of one of the best pasta dishes in the world!
- 1lb Whole Grain Angel Hair Pasta
- 3 Pints (about 4.5 cups) Organic Cherry Tomatoes
- 3/4 Cup Chicken Broth
- 5 Large Cloves Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil (more or less depending on how much you like Basil!)
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
- Pinch of White Sugar
- Place a large pot on the stove and drop your pasta into it without any water (This is a really different method than I am used to, but there is a reason for it. I’ll explain in a bit!)
- Meanwhile, take your garlic cloves, remove the outer covering and thinly slice.
- Next, cut your cherry tomatoes in half and roughly chop your basil (the best way is to simply stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up into a cigar shape, and thinly slice. This way, you get nice thin ribbons of the delicious herb!)
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, high-rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, swirl it around so it mixes with the olive oil.
- Drop in your sliced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, stirring constantly to keep the garlic from burning. You want it to become soft and golden. If it burns, it will turn bitter.
- Once the garlic and red pepper have flavored the oil and become softer, add about 3/4 of your tomatoes, reserving some for later.
- Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar (to counter the acidity of the tomatoes).
- Saute the tomatoes with the garlic until they really start to break down and release their juices.
- At this point, add water to your pasta pot until it just covers the Angel Hair, season with some salt (but not too much!), turn the stove on high, and cover until the water reaches a rapid boil.
- So I saw this method on an episode of Good Eats by Alton Brown. The thought behind it is you want the starchy water to help thicken your sauce. However, if you cook the pasta in a ton of water as normal, this starch concentration isn’t as high. Thus, you only cook with the amount of water you need! It really does work!)
- While the pasta is cooking, your tomatoes should be nice and broken down by now. At this point, add the rest of the tomatoes into the pan (I find that mixing in just warmed tomatoes with your broken down tomato sauce provides a real bright burst of flavor).
- Next, add your chicken broth to the pan and mix vigorously to get everything blended together. Reduce the sauce slightly.
- Lastly, add the freshly chopped Basil to the pan and stir.
- By now, your pasta should be done. Take a small ladle-full of starchy pasta water and add it to the sauce. Mix and reduce again for a couple of minutes. Drain the rest of the pasta in the meantime.
- After the sauce reduces a little, add your pasta and finish cooking it in the sauce. It will absorb all the delicious flavor of the sauce and make a nice mixture.
- Serve in bowls and though it isn’t necessary, feel free to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top (I’m New Jersey Italian, so I did!)
You may be wondering how a pasta dish made it to a website concentrating on health. I’m here to tell you that pasta can be part of a healthy diet. The most important part is making sure the pasta is whole grain. This really ups the protein, fiber, and vitamin content of your dish. It’s not the empty carb that most people think.
I have found that the Barilla brand makes a really nice version that doesn’t taste much different from regular refined pasta. With that said, check out the nutrition information based on a 2,000 calorie diet. I think you will be impressed!
As always, in order to calculate, I used a great tool from Very Well Fit in order to make these calculations. It provides a really decent estimate and all you have to do is enter the amounts you made and how many servings your dish yields. The calculator does the rest!
- Calories: 356
- Total Fat:10.6g (14% of DV)
- Saturated Fat: 3.1g (16% of DV)
- Cholesterol: 10mg (3% of DV)
- Sodium: 114mg (5% of DV)
- Total Carbohydrates: 56.6g (21% of DV)
- Dietary Fiber: 7.2g (26% of DV)
- Sugars: 3.7g
- Protein: 8.7g
Looking at this nutritional profile, you are getting a really solid meal here. It is low in calories, and the ones it has are certainly far from the empty variety. It has enough fat to help keep you full, but isn’t extremely high. The dish is very low in cholesterol and sodium, both great things for your heart health.
While the meal is not going to light any Keto-follower’s world on fire, for those who don’t shy away from high-quality carbohydrates will find a meal that gives plenty of quality energy and is high in fiber, yet low in sugar.
The only thing that could use improvement for some would be the amount of protein. Because it is a simple pasta dish, it is low in the macronutrient. However, you could easily add some lean protein with grilled chicken to give it a boost without adding much fat.
Sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on top will add a little more sodium and fat, but unless you dump a huge amount on, it won’t be too bad.
Give It A Go!
If you are looking for some light Italian fair that features fresh flavor and simplicity, you really need look no further than our recipe of the week: Capellini Pomodoro. It’s bright tomato-basil sauce pairs perfectly with the light pasta to make a hearty, healthy dish that will please young, old, and any waistline in between.
Now, its your turn! What do you think of Capellini Pomodoro? Is it something you would try? Have you had a version of this dish before?
Have you ever been to Italy and sampled the pasta there? Tell me about your experience!
If you have any questions about this recipe or any other on the site, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them.
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Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Before I go, if you are interested in healthy additions to your diet, take a look at these posts:
- What Is The Best Vegan Protein Powder? GoL Raw Meal Review
- The Takeya Water Bottle – Your New Container Search Is Over
- Vega One Organic All In One Shake – Will It Be Your Meal Replacement?
- Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli Cereal – Power Your Morning!
- Oregano’s Health Benefits – It’s Not Just A Pizza Topping
- Basil’s Health Benefits – What Italy’s Primo Herb Can Do For You
- Parsley’s Health Benefits – Not Just A Garnish!
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits – Packing A Flavor And Nutritional Punch?
- The Artichoke’s Health Benefits – Who Knew Thistles Were So Tasty?
- The Apricot’s Health Benefits – Why Haven’t I Been Eating These?
- Arugula’s Health Benefits – Nutritious Or Just Delicious?
If you are looking for ways to eat better when you are out and about, check out these posts:
- What To Eat For Health – Part 1: At Chipotle
- What To Eat For Health – Part 2: At Arby’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 3: At McDonald’s
- What To Eat For Health – Pt. 4: At Chick-Fil-A
- What To Eat For Health – Part 5: At Burger King
- What To Eat For Health – Part 6: At Panera Bread
- Tips To Be Healthy And Fit – Part 1: On Vacation
Lastly, if you are passionate about fitness, or really anything, there is a way to turn it into an income online. Find out how I am making money, right now, from the internet by reading these posts:
- How Can I Earn Money Online? It’s Possible With Wealthy Affiliate!
- Make Money With Survey Junkie? Is It Possible?
- Online Personal Trainer Certification – No Better Than ACE Fitness!
That’s all for now! God bless and mangia!