Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Cream Sauce & Kalamata Olives


I call my nonna (grandmother) in Italy about once a week. After the usual pleasantries and how are you’s, the conversation always turns to food. What have I been cooking lately, what has she been cooking, what recipe she just saw in this magazine or that newspaper. The last time nonna was here she even brought me a ton of recipe books and clippings from magazines. Nonna always mentions her diet too. She is 87 (turning 88 in May) and absolutely gorgeous, young, and vibrant. I once wrote more thoroughly about her diet tips, but here is how she eats (and tells me to eat):

Breakfast: a small cookie or two with espresso and milk
Morning snack: half an apple with yogurt
Lunch: pasta with whatever she feels like
Afternoon snack: the other half of the apple
Dinner: an animal protein (beef, chicken, etc), a few vegetables, and maybe a piece of bread or small potato

If she has a piece of meat at lunch she has pasta for dinner, and vice versa. She eats pasta every single day.

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(Photo- from our wedding– courtesy of LifeFusion Photography)

While I only cook a pasta dish about once a week, I really love pasta. I rarely eat the whole wheat dried varieties because they simply aren’t as pleasing or tasty. My favorite brand of pasta is Barilla, but my favorite pasta is fresh pasta. One of the local markets in Philadelphia, DiBruno’s, always carries lots of fresh refrigerated (or frozen) pastas. My favorite variety is the whole wheat fettuccine. I buy a package and then keep it in the freezer until the day comes when PhillyBoy and I are rushing around and want to eat dinner fast.

This dinner is quick to make, but is truly decadent. I rarely use butter in my cooking (in fact I had to buy butter to make this dish), but this dish uses real butter.  

So step into the kitchen, make this dish, and have a special evening in Italy. It’s pasta time!

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Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Cream Sauce & Kalamata Olives
Serves 4

Ingredients:
8 oz fresh whole wheat fettuccine
1 tbs real butter
1 tbs whole wheat flour
10 oz half & half
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
kosher salt to taste

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt (about 2 tbs).
2. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a shallow pan. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk vigorously for about a minute or two. Add the half & half slowly while continuing to whisk well. Lower the heat to medium low and continue whisking for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook according to directions on the package (about 3-5 minutes). Drain the pasta well and add it to the cream sauce in the saucepan. Add the olives and toss well. Enjoy!

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22 responses to “Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Cream Sauce & Kalamata Olives

  1. Wow – your nonna is beautiful!

  2. Your nonna is gorgeous! Does she read the blog?

    I remember reading about her diet tips back when you first posted them, and I’m equally as shocked now. It’s so different than how the average American eats! Very interesting; thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Your Nonna looks so beautiful in that picture. Sounds like a way of eating. I could eat like that everyday, love the pasta.

  4. I dream of looking like your Nonna in three years or so 🙂

  5. Your Nonna reminds me so much of my own grandmother! She followed a similar diet. It’s the Italian way 🙂

    Your Nonna is stunning!

  6. Nonna looks like one beautiful and classy lady. Love her diet tips.

    And what a great recipe. PB is truly lucky to be married to such fantastic cook.

  7. Your nonna looks so chic in the picture! What a great meal!!

  8. Oooh, my Greek yaya would have loved this one! Beautiful.

  9. Love the photo of you nonna. It seems like she’s an amazing woman! You’re so lucky to have a grandmother like that in your life! 🙂

  10. Nonna is FABULOUS! Love it.

  11. This looks so delish. Your post about your Nonna made me cry-in a good way.

  12. I can really see a resemblance! Both of you are beauties.

  13. Your Nonna is very elegant looking! I can completely related to what you wrote about her, my Nana is no longer living but I had a special relationship with her when she was. The pasta dish looks yummy!

    I wanted to let you know that I made the chocolate dipped pretzel rods that you featured a few months ago for my kids (and their friends) back at Halloween and they were a huge hit. I am going to give out a peppermint-bark version (chocolate dipped in peppermint candy crumbs) as holiday gifts for their teachers! Thanks so much for sharing that treat!

  14. JenniferfromLaJolla- Thank you! I love the Christmas chocolate covered pretzel idea. I was considering doing some with different colored sanding sugars for Christmas…. but I got too lazy! Happy holidays!!!

  15. Your Nonna looks like a fabulous diva! How lucky for you (and her) that you are so close! Being Lebanese, my own nana (Thea-thea) ate a similar Mediterranean diet (although swap out that pasta for syrian rice or syrian bread 🙂 but they’re right, eat whole foods in small amounts and enjoy! A great post!

  16. What a fancy lady!!!

  17. What a classy Nonna! She looks wonderful and I like her eating style. That pasta looks SO delicious, I will be back to try this!
    -Katie

  18. you are absolutely incredibly beautiful!! i LOVE that dress and the hair-do! amazing!!

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