Frittatas are my favorite way to clean out the fridge at the end of the week! This pasta frittata used up some leftover steamed broccoli rabe, goat cheese, and pasta that I had hanging around from the week. If you've never thrown pasta in your frittata - DO IT! It's a great way to add filling and fiber rich carbs to round out your meal.
Last month I started teaching cooking classes at our local organic farm on how to use seasonal ingredients from their CSA in easy and healthy weeknight cooking. While I was making a vegetarian bolognese sauce (with the most gorgeous combination of lions mane and oyster mushrooms), one of the participants raised her hand and meekly asked, "but wait, isn't pasta unhealthy?" And literally, almost everyone else in class had a look on their face that said well isn't it?
Pasta is basically my favorite food, and I feel like I'm not the only one that feels that way. Seriously, have you ever met someone who doesn't like pasta? It's like, the only thing everyone can agree on. Yet, there's still a mini-Dr. Atkins on a lot of people's shoulders, whispering in their ear that pasta and other carbs are a no-no.
I love to use pasta to add fiber-rich carbohydrate to my meals. Unless I really don't have much of an appetite, I just can't go a meal without some type of carb. It makes me feel awful. I looove fresh, homemade pasta (made by other people, not me!), but for everyday of the week, I like to stick with good 'ole whole wheat pasta. Although I don't think whole grain pasta tastes very good with cream or olive oil and garlic based sauces, for everything else, I love the wheaty flavor.
If you still think of pasta as "empty calories", here's some food for thought:
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients along with fat and protein. These three nutrients provide our body with energy, and I recommend clients get all three at each meal to help you feel full and give your body the energy it needs. Carbohydrates are especially important because they're the only source of energy our brain can use. Without them, you may feel tired, foggy or light-headed. I sure do.
Whole grain pasta contains fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium. Even though white pasta doesn't contain as many nutrients or fiber, it's okay! Not everything we eat has to be packed with nutrients.
Both white and whole grain pasta have a low glycemic index, a measure of how a food affects blood sugar, which I think is surprising to most people. It's effect on blood sugar is even better when pasta is paired with protein and fat, like the eggs, goat cheese and olive oil in this recipe.
Because this dish uses leftover cold pasta, it actually has even less of an effect on glucose levels. Studies have shown that cooked and cooled pasta (and other types of carbohydrates, like potatoes and rice), will turn some of the starch to resistant starch, which doesn't break down into sugar. Pretty fascinating, huh?
Hope this pasta frittata becomes a new regular in your house!
Pasta Frittata with Baby Bellas and Broccoli Rabe
4 ounces broccoli rabe
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups cooked whole grain penne pasta
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Steam broccoli rabe for 4-6 minutes in the microwave until tender
Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. Saute until mushrooms are tender.
While mushrooms are cooking, beat eggs and milk in a large bowl and season with salt and black pepper.
Add sun-dried tomatoes and cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Arrange broccoli rabe over the pasta and vegetables. Pour eggs into the skillet. Top with crumbled goat cheese. Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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