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Mediterranean diet offers alternative to carb-counting

Wednesday, May 26, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:43 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Atkins diet is anti-carb, but the pasta industry is fighting back, claiming that it is OK to eat carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet. The industry points out that it works for the Mediterraneans and that it should work for Americans, too.

It’s the Atkins diet meets the Mediterranean diet with Spaghetti a la Carbonara, a recipe my Italian neighbor Giancarlo made for me when I was living in Spain.

Eggs, Italian bacon, olive oil and cheese drive up the fat content while the pasta accounts for bulky carbohydrates. The components blend together to make this pasta creamy and delicious.

This is the way Giancarlo made the pasta for me:

Spaghetti a la carbonara

  • 1/4 box spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, Italian bacon available at Schnucks. Regular bacon will work in an emergency, but the flavor tends to be too smoky.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Chop onions and press garlic. Saute in heated pan with olive oil and pancetta until onions start to brown. Turn off heat and set aside.

In small bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook pasta following directions. When it reaches al dente, drain the pasta in a strainer. When the water is drained, pour the pasta back into the pan with the onions, garlic and pancetta.

Add eggs to the pasta, allowing the heat from the pasta to scramble the eggs. Stir well, until eggs are cooked.

Make sure pasta is evenly coated. Add parmesan cheese to mixture.

Serve hot with additional Parmesan to taste.

Serves 2.


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