Make some great and good for you side dishes this holiday season: Al Dente Pasta

I love pasta. Throughout law school, I pretty much ate pasta every night (and some days) for three years. I had no idea what carbs were and that’s a shame: my dad and his people were all diabetics. Also, back in those days, I thought you could only get fiber from bran muffins and prunes, both of which I hate. But I still love pasta! They keep for long periods of time in the cupboard. I make wonderful sauces. Nothing is so easy and comforting after a hard day’s work. They also make for a wonderful additional side dish for all of your holiday feasts. Al Dente Pasta Company has come out with all kinds of plant-based gluten-free, as well as low carb pastas! Weight Watchers has picked up on this product and sales have gone through the roof. I was happy to be hosted to experience them.

Carba-Nada Roasted Garlic Fettuccine cooks faster than you can pick something to order on a phone app: 3 minutes! It has 17g net carbs, 15g protein and 7g fiber. It’s Kosher. It has a subtle garlic flavor, but won’t overwhelm your seasonings. I made Fettuccine Alfredo with butter, heavy cream, chopped Parmesan cooked slowly, dried parsley, truffle salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chickpea + Tumeric plant based pasta comes in a wider noodle with a slight twist shape. It has 27g net carbs. It has a nutty taste with that slight bitterness of tumeric. This flavor made a great pairing with some Palak Paneer that I made!

Red Lentil + Sweet Potato has 26g net carbs and is high protein, gluten-free. It has a gnocchi flavor, but not overly sweet. It’s earthy! This is how I prepared it: with creamy, slow scrambled eggs, rum-soaked raisins, Baharat seasoning, Cake Spice (a recipe that dates from the Middle Ages) and vanilla fleur de sel.

One of their new “piccolo” (little in Italian) shapes is Spinach Farfalletti. That’s Italian for little butterflies, which is what the shapes look like. You’ll also hear people states-side call them “bowtie pasta”. Oretta Zanini de Vita, author of Encyclopedia of Pasta, says that such little shapes are typically cooked in broth. That sounds good, but I tried them this way: with butter and olive oil poached garlic chunks, red pepper flakes, dried parsley, sea salt, Parmesan shavings. Walnuts and black olives would work, too.

Another piccolo shape, Golden Egg Bonnetti, are like Amish egg noodles to me, except in a small shape that cooks in 5 minutes. Keep these on hand for turkey broth and for later this winter, when you need chicken noodle soup for what ails ya’.

One of the gluten-free plant-based pastas, Green Pea + Wild Garlic cooks in 3 minutes. It has a pea flavor with a touch garlic. They have a sesame recipe on the package. Use this wherever you’d have fresh peas as a side: pot roast, roast pork, lamb. Try a fresh mint and cream sauce. I used pozole pork and its garnishes: excellent! The garlic worked and the starches worked.

Carba-Nada Egg Fettuccini cooks in 3 minutes and works wherever and however you love a traditional fettuccini, but with only 17g net carbs! As you will see on the site’s photo for the Carba-Nada pastas, you’ll see an egg pappardelle, but it’s apparently hard to get hold of. Boo hoo hoo!

Tumeric Pinchetti gets its shape name from being pinched in the middle. Cute! There’s a little yellow lentil aspect to its flavor. I paired it with a spicy Arrabiata sauce, with fresh asparagus and homemade mozzarella.

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