During December 2011, I experienced 3 gallbladder attacks within a week and a half. Although I don't think my diet was THAT bad before this happened, I decided after the third one to drastically alter my eating habits. So, for at least the next couple of months (until my baby comes), my goal is to seek out and share low-fat, high fiber, and low-sugar recipes. I figured as long as I was figuring things out for myself and my family, I may as well share what's working!

June 7, 2010

Carb Loading: Muffaletta Pasta

I have had this recipe in my Favorites for a while now.  I would visit it every so often on the Taste of Home website and then decide not to make it.  Since we're eating mandatory pasta once a week, I've been pulling all of the pasta recipes on my list.  We've had tomato based pasta for the last few weeks, so I wanted to try something different last Friday.

I love this picture because you can see all of the different colors of the ingredients.  This was very tasty!  Even my husband, who is NOT a fan of olives, liked it.  (He liked it so much that he ate some of the leftovers the next day!)  But, really, with a butter and cream sauce, how can it not be tasty?

Muffaletta Pasta
8 servings

1 package (16 ounces) bow tie pasta
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
1 package (16 ounces) cubed fully cooked ham
1 jar (12.36 ounces) tapenade or ripe olive bruschetta topping, drained
1 package (3-1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in 2 teaspoons butter until tender. Add the ham, tapenade and pepperoni; saute 2 minutes longer. Cube remaining butter; stir butter and cream into skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Drain pasta; toss with ham mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
NOTES: I used turkey pepperoni.  You know, to save a few calories. *wink*  Honestly, in a recipe like this, I don't think it matters much.  But the turkey kind was on sale.  So that's what I got.  Also, I didn't buy pre-cubed packaged ham.  I had some leftover ham in my freezer--so I cubed it myself.
I spent 10 minutes looking for tapenade at my usual grocery store.  I looked near the pickles, near the mayo, near the cheese, near the deli...and never could find it.  I was just going to add chopped olives.  But, I ended up going back to a different store before I made this.  I was almost immediately successful at locating the tapenade.  BUT, it was $9 for about a cup.  There was NO WAY I was paying that much for chopped up olives.  Instead, I bought a can of chopped black olives and a jar of green olives and attempted my own tapenade using a little lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and garlic.  It turned out great!
As far as the cheese goes, I put the pasta in a big bowl and sprinkled the cheese on top.  Between the time I put it on the table and we ate, the cheese melted and cooled a bit on the top.  Next time, I would put the cheese in a bowl on the table and add it to the individual portions. 
Would I make this again?  For the taste, YES.  It was good!  The one thing that would hold me back is the cream sauce.  So, this one will have to wait for some special occasion to make another appearance.

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