We’ve so long been schooled that carbs are bad for us, that a comforting bowl of pasta has come to feel like it is off limits. But we come bearing good news: thanks to a brand-new book from Julia Azzarello, you don’t need to be running the marathon this month to tuck in.
Skinny Pasta (£14.99, Kyle Books) offers the dream: satisfying meals that are big in flavour but low in calories. It is a mix of timeless classics and contemporary interpretations, focusing on fresh, healthy and nutritious ingredients, with many of them vegan, vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-free. And all of the recipes come in at under 500 calories.
Here’s a little taster to whet your appetite. Julia says: “This dish is delicious in the spring when asparagus and broad beans come into season. It is vibrant and green – just like the grass after an April shower in your garden, when flowers are blooming and hopes of summer days are not too far away.”
300g (101⁄2oz) long pasta of your choice, such as mafaldine | 2 tablespoons olive oil | 2 spring onions, sliced | 1 carrot, peeled and diced | 2 garlic cloves, minced | 100g (31⁄2oz) tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces | 100g (31⁄2oz) asparagus tips, sliced | 1 tablespoon butter 50g | (1 3⁄4oz) shelled fresh peas (frozen are fine too) | 100g (31⁄2oz) broad beans, shelled weight 100ml (31⁄2fl oz) single cream | Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon each chopped oregano, basil and parsley | 40g (11⁄2oz) Pecorino Romano, grated or shaved | Few edible flowers
1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 5–7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
2. Warm a large, deep frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the spring onions and carrot and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the pasta, peas, broad beans and cream. Loosen with a little of the pasta water if needed and cook for 2 minutes, then season to taste.
3. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with the herbs, grated or shaved cheese and edible flowers.