Monday, June 15, 2015

Penne With Peanut Pesto

"Penne With Peanut Pesto" (page 203) really stretches the boundaries of what I consider traditional pesto, but notwithstanding the liberal interpretation of the concept, this preparation was outstandingly delicious! I have to admit to a huge fondness for peanut sauces, especially spicy peanut sauces, the combination found quite often in Asian dishes. And if you opt to use Asian noodles as I did (and the recipe suggests as an alternative to the penne), this dish really is reminiscent of Asian style cooking. The sauce consists of garlic, peanuts and peanut butter (a very rich combination), soy sauce, lime juice, and Asian chili paste (I doubled the amount of chili paste called for and added ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes to get the heat level up to my liking). The recipe also calls for two tablespoons of sesame oil, but I left this out altogether. With the high fat content in the peanuts and peanut butter, the sesame oil wasn't even missed. However, if you really wanted to include the distinctive sesame oil flavor, adding only a teaspoon or less would do the trick. The recipe as written would contribute 96 total grams of fat (spread over 4 servings), but by leaving out the sesame oil this can be reduced to 68 grams - still a very high fat dish! Because I like my pasta dishes a little saucier than most recipes call for, I used just ½ pound of pasta instead of the one pound called for. This dish could be quite addictive, it was that good!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

  • Use whole grain noodles, either penne or Asian style udon, rice, or soba style.
  • Omit the sesame oil altogether, no extra fat is necessary (although you will be omitting this particular flavor).

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