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Low GI Recipe: Orecchiette and Broccoli alla Franca

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November 3, 2010 by Johanna Burani

Low GI Recipe: Orecchiette e Broccoli alla Franca

I’ve known Franca almost as long as I know my husband (39 years). They were high school friends and anytime we visit my husband’s hometown, Reggio Emilia (about 30 minutes west of Bologna), we always wind up at Franca’s house for dinner. Her culinary prowess is as acclaimed as her affable personality, wit and contagious laugh. Recently I asked her for one of her recipes that I could share with GI News readers; she wrote this up for me in less than 5 minutes!

 


Low GI Recipe: Orecchiette and Broccoli alla Franca
I’ve known Franca almost as long as I know my husband (39 years). They were high school friends and anytime we visit my husband’s hometown, Reggio Emilia (about 30 minutes west of Bologna), we always wind up at Franca’s house for dinner. Her culinary prowess is as acclaimed as her affable personality, wit and contagious laugh. Recently I asked her for one of her recipes that I could share with blog readers; she wrote this up for me in less than 5 minutes!
Created by:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 heaping tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 2-lb. head of fresh broccoli
  • 8 oz. uncooked orecchiette
  • 1 oz. freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt.
  2. In the meantime, wash the broccoli and divide it up into small florets, trim the stems and cut into small slices.
  3. When the water starts to boil, add the pasta and, after about 3-4 minutes, add in the broccoli. Cook over moderate heat for 10-11 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon.
  4. While the pasta and broccoli are cooking, add half of the cheese, the garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking water and 1 tablespoon of oil in a small bowl; mix to form a dense paste.
  5. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain them, keeping aside ½ cup of the cooking water.
  6. Place the pasta quickly in a preheated serving bowl, add the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) and the cheese paste. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta is too dry. Serve immediately with abundant cheese sprinkled on top.
Notes
Franca says: Instead of the garlic, one can substitute 2-3 anchovies in oil, smashing them with a fork and adding them to the cheese.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 385 Fat: 14g Saturated fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 53g Fiber: 9g Protein: 16g Cholesterol: 7mg


2 comments »

  1. Caddie says:

    This looks yummy. But is it still a “low gi” meal if the fat is over 10g and the carbs over 25g?

  2. Hi Caddie, I’m glad the orecchiette recipe appeals to you. You bring up a very good point about pasta dishes and whether they can be low GI. The answer is yes! The glycemic index value of a carbohydrate is a property or characteristic of that particular food and it never changes. For example, if we think of an apple, we know that it is round, juicy, maybe red,yellow or green. These are all descriptive characteristics of the apple. If we look up the GI value of a raw Braeburn apple, for example, we find that it is 32 (low). Just like the shape or the color belongs to the apple, so does its GI value. The same is true with pasta. As long as you don’t overcook it (keep it al dente) and you don’t add high GI ingredients on top of it, this pasta dish or any other one will be low GI. With regard to fat, you’re right to keep an eye on fat sources in your diet. In this particular recipe, 33% of its calories come from heart-healthy olive oil and grated cheese. If you feel you want to cut back, I’d suggest reducing the amount of cheese, since it has cholesterol and more saturated fat than the oil. Thanks for your interest in my recipe. I hope I’ve convinced you that it is a healthy low GI dish – and it really is delicious!

Please leave your comments, or ask a question:

Gushers vs Tricklers


"Gushers" are quickly-digested carbohydrates that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and fuel appetite.

"Tricklers" are slowly-digested carbohydrates that are gradually released into the bloodstream and sustain satiety. These are the good carbs.


Johanna Burani
MS, RD, CDE
Nutrition Works LLC
Morristown, NJ, USA

Expert in individualized, low-glycemic index (low GI) meal planning.

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