Food- Fact Sheets - Pasta

Heli J. Roy, Montgomery, Donna  |  3/18/2005 11:00:49 PM

Did you know that macaroni, spaghetti and noodles are sometimes called pasta? That's because they are all made with a paste of flour and water. Pasta is the Italian word meaning "paste." The main difference in pastas is the shape, but noodles usually contain egg or egg solids, making them yellower. There are more than 170 different shapes of pasta!

We should have 6 equivalents from the Bread Group on a 2000-calorie diet. Half should come from whole grains. Foods from this group should form the basis of our meals. Pasta is a good choice because it combines well with vegetables, meats, fish, beans and peas. It is low in cost and can help stretch food dollars.

Prepare Perfect Pasta

Always cook pasta using plenty of water, at least a quart for every 4 ounces (1 cup) of pasta.
  • Allow 2 ounces of uncooked pasta per person for a main dish serving (4 ounces for larger appetites).
  • Adding salt to water is optional. It's just a matter of taste. A small amount of oil (1 teaspoon) may help prevent a spillover and keep pasta from sticking.
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, and add the pasta all at once.
  • Lower the heat to medium when the water returns to a boil so the pot continues to bubble without boiling over.
  • Stir occasionally. Cook until tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Cook shorter time if pasta will be added to a casserole and cooked longer.
  • Drain at once.
  • Pasta with Picante Black Bean Sauce

    Top any pasta with this tasty tomato and black bean sauce. This quick heart-healthy recipe is sure to please! It's also great on the food dollar. You might also want to try serving it over rice. Add a salad, bread, a glass of skim milk and a piece of fruit to complete the meal.

    • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • vegetable cooking spray
    • 1 can (15-ounces) low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can (14 1/2-ounces) pasta ready tomatoes, without salt
    • 1/2 cup picante sauce
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon oregano, crushed
    • 8 ounces dry pasta, cooked
    • Optional topping: Shredded lowfat cheese

    Cook onion and garlic in oil in large skillet until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; cook over medium heat until desired consistency. Serve bean mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Serve with additional picante sauce. Serves 4. Each serving without cheese has 200 calories, 9 gm protein, 43 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 8 gm fiber and 640 mg sodium.

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