A lot of people stay away from pasta when they’re on a diet. They think it’s plain fattening or too high in saturated fat, or both. I have a cousin who went on the South Beach diet and wondered, at the start, how she could survive without pasta. The noodles consist of starch and, depending on the amount consumed, well, I guess it can be a diet killer. Among those who think that pasta dishes are naturally high in saturated fat, the most common misconception is that pasta has to come with a lot of high-fat meat like bacon, ham, sausages…
The truth is, pasta dishes can be high or low in fat depending on what you put in the sauce and how much cheese you stir in and sprinkle on top. Granted that bacon makes everything delicious but, still, bacon is not the only thing that can make a dish taste great. Mushrooms, for instance, are very flavorful. And they have that “meaty” texture that makes them a great ingredient for making pasta sauce. Note, however, that when using mushrooms for pasta sauce, fresh mushrooms are best.
- cooked linguine (or other pasta shape), enough for two
- 4 tbsps. of olive oil
- 1 to 1 and ½ c. of chopped fresh mushrooms (or rehydrated dried mushrooms), any kind or a combination of different kinds of mushrooms
- ½ c. of chopped onion
- 1 tbsp. of chopped garlic
- 1 and ½ c. of chopped tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- a pinch of dried oregano
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a bit of sugar, for balance
- about 6 sweet basil leaves, thinly sliced (see how to make basil chiffonade)
- 2 tbsps. of sour cream (or yogurt)
- shredded cheese, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until the onion pieces start to soften.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and oregano. Season with more salt and pepper, and a bit of sugar. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. The tomatoes will liquefy then reduce. Turn off the heat when the sauce is thick and chunky. Fish out the bay leaf.
- Stir in the sour cream or yogurt and basil. Taste one last time, adjust the seasonings if needed, then toss with the pasta. Top the linguine with tomato-sour cream mushroom sauce with shredded cheese and serve.