I love when people tell me that they are clean eating when they hear what I do. Clean eating is this modern day excuse to say you are "dieting", and that term has strong psychological effects on us when we eat the foods that are removed from our diet or that we deem as bad for you and weight gaining, such as refined carbohydrates. This idea of clean eating to put it simply does not work in the long run. We want to instill habits that work for our entire life, tweaking minor things as we age.
Psychology plays a very large role in our food. When we remove something from our diet that we truly enjoy, we crave it. We tell ourself it isn't good for you, like for example pasta. The idea that pasta makes you gain weight you have in your mind that pasta is bad and you shouldn't eat it. When you do have that bowl of pasta the next time after "clean eating" because you are having what is so popularly called a "cheat day", which I also disagree with that term you will most likely overeat. Reaching that state of extreme fullness. This is bad for your health! By eliminating a food you used to regularly consume creates this subconscious desire or you put a stigma on it. When you do consume that food or foods when you are practicing clean eating you will overeat it or overeat during that meal. It is a way to make up for the deprivation psychologically of that food. When we eat we are not only feeding and fueling our body we are feeding so much more. Also foods that have been deemed weight gaining by the rules of clean eating are foods we should have in our diet and culturally have been in cuisines for centuries. That is not to say that certain foods should be consumed in moderation, smaller portions, and more mindfully. Think about it! Most of Italians, French, Spanish, South Americans, and Asians eat the foods we deem as weight gaining typically are of moderate weight. The reason why people who consume foods like pasta, rice, bread, ice cream, chocolate, dessert don't gain weight is because they eat in moderation. That is the key! A little bit goes a long way.
I have been one of those who has eliminated foods from my diet because I didn't want to gain weight or be unhealthy. It was a nightmare, I wanted the food so much more and when I did have it I felt guilty for overeating and over indulging. It's terrible! Foods that are less healthy, for the sake of the post, pasta can be prepared in a more healthy manner like this recipe. When we foods that are simple carbohydrates with more fats and fiber from vegetables we make the dish healthier. This lowers the spike in our insulin when we eat simple carbohydrates which we want to avoid. From a gastronomic view almost every pasta dish has either olive, butter, or cheese which are fats making the dish healthier. When we add vegetables to our pasta it becomes healthier and improves the dishes nutritional benefits. We don't have to eliminate pasta, bread, or rice from our diets to eat healthier, we just have to tweak the recipes adjust our mind set that moderation key!
Yields 4 servings
1 box of Linguine Pasta (I prefer Delallo, Barilla, or Homemade)
1 small butternut squash - roasted, peeled, and diced
1 bunch of dinosaur kale - remove the leaves from the rib
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup whole milk or 2% milk
2 tablespoons ricotta
Salt + Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese + more for garnish
1. Roast the butternut squash ahead of time. Once you have roasted it is easier to peel the skin off. Dice into chunks and depending on the size reserve about 1 1/2- 2 cups for the sauce. The butternut squash you are using for the sauce, smash it so that it is no longer in chunks.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt.
3. In a sauce pan add half the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lightly saute the kale until it just wilts. Remove and place on a plate.
4. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/2 cup of diced butternut squash with some minced sage. Saute for a few minutes. Then remove from the pan.
5. Add the butter and the smashed butternut squash to the pan with salt, pepper,and the milk. I had to add this to the food processor after to make it more smooth to make it nice and creamy and smooth, or you can use a hand blender. While it is still hot add the grated parmesan cheese. Adjust the seasoning and garnish with sage.
6. Cook the pasta until al dente. Using a few spoonfuls of the pasta water, add it to the cream sauce to help it thin out.
7. When the pasta is al dente add it to the cream sauce along with the ricotta and kale. Toss all together.
8. To plate add the sauced pasta with kale, add the diced butternut squash and garnish with some more sage and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.