This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla®. The opinions and text are all mine.
The Mediterranean Diet holds many secrets. To adopt it into our lives and take advantage of it, we must follow its complete "recipe" and practice its philosophies daily. Two of these secrets are always present in my life: using fresh ingredients in my kitchen and respecting the produce nature gives us during each season. If you consume fresh and seasonal products, you will realize that you will not only eat healthier, but your recipes will taste better – and you will probably save money because seasonal products are always on sale.
The fall and winter months are synonymous with mushrooms, which work with so many recipes – plus they are very nutritious and easy to cook. Keep in mind that most mushrooms come already cleaned, but if you do have to clean them, simply wipe them with a cloth instead of washing them with water. Also remember not to overcook them so they don’t lose texture and flavor.
Another great food that is a staple in the Mediterranean Diet is pasta. Not only does it fit within the traditional dietary patterns of the Mediterranean region, it’s made with few, wholesome ingredients and provides a simple and natural way to enjoy eating.
I was inspired to develop the recipe below after following the Barilla® Pasta World Championship. Especially seeing the first female win the championship, Chef Carolina Diaz (of Chicago’s Terzo Piano). Her take on Spaghetti al Pomodoro inspired the judges with its fresh flavors.
Barilla are the Masters of Pasta, so it’s no surprise they brought together these talented chefs to create dishes that provided inspiration to many, myself included. Try this flavorful recipe below, inspired by Barilla and the Italian recipe “Aglio e Olio.”
Thank you, Barilla and the chefs who competed in the Pasta World Championship for the inspiration!
Barilla Spaghetti with mushrooms “al ajillo”
20 minutes 6 portions
By Doreen Colondres for Barilla
What you need:
- 1 lb. Barilla® spaghetti or linguini pasta
- 24 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped—I like to combine two or more varieties
- 8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of white wine (a pinot grigio will be good, not cooking wine)
- 1/4 cup of parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes or black pepper to taste
- Salt to taste
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to taste (optional)
What you need to do:
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil over high heat and season with salt. Then cook the pasta for one minute less than the package instructions recommend.
- In a big sauté pan on medium-low heat, add the oil and the garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes or until the garlic softens. The garlic should turn light brown.
- Then increase the heat to high, add the mushrooms and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, then stir for 2 more minutes so it can reduce.
- Add the parsley, salt and pepper, mixing them well, and sauté for another minute.
- Strain the pasta and transfer immediately to the pan with the mushrooms, toss it properly for 1 minute so all the flavors can come together. If you like, you can add half a cup of the water the pasta cooked in.
- Serve right away with a pinch of cheese and/or more parsley on top.
In my life, there are no diets. Keep a balanced life, by cooking more at home with fresh produce, by not eating anything processed, and by exercising. If you really want to make a change in your life, understand that cooking is not a duty, it is a lifestyle. Happy Holidays!