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.
(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!
Whole Wheat Fettuccine with Cream Sauce & Kalamata Olives
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
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!