Nutritional Value of Pasta

Rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, pasta is a complex carbohydrate food. It provides as much energy as a pure protein like steak, but with little or no fat. Of the eight amino acids essential to make up a complete protein, pasta contains six, so it only needs a small amount of cheese, meat, fish, pulses or eggs _the raditional ingredients for serving with pasta to make it complete. If you are using pasta all'uovo, you need even less additional protein.

The key to healthy eating lies in eating pasta as the Italians do, with only a small amount of extra ingredients. In Italy, it is traditional for pasta to be served as a first course, before the main course of fish or meat. Eaten with a small spoonful of sauce and a light sprinkling of grated cheese, nothing could be more well-balanced and nutritionally sound.

The incidence of heart disease in Italy is one of the lowest in the world, and doctors, nutritionists and scientists agree that the Italian diet plays a large and important role in this. In Italian cooking, healthy ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, fresh and canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, olives, red bell peppers and fresh parsley are used all the time, plus lots of fresh fish, vegetables and
salad leaves, fruit, pulses and lemon juice. Most of these ingredients combine wonderfully well with pasta, and they are used over and over again in the recipes in this book.

Pasta is a completely natural food that contains no additives. Pasta with egg contains the most nutrients, while whole-wheat pasta has the highest percentage of vitamins and fiber. Always check the label when buying colored pasta, because some varieties include artificial coloring.

Pasta is inexpensive, quick and easy to cook, and incredibly versatile. It is the perfect convenience food: in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, most sauces are ready to serve. Pasta all'uovo is especially nutritious and good for children who don't like eggs in a more recognizable form. Another plus, which athletes appreciate, is that as a high- energy food, pasta is easy to digest and yet immensely satisfying.

It makes sense, therefore, to include pasta in our diets as often as possible, if not every day. Since everybody loves it, this should be very Posy to do. People watching their weight may be surprised to know that a 3-ounce portion of cooked pasta yields only about 100 calories and can therefore be eaten as part of a calorie-controlled diet, as long as it is only lightly sauced.