Pasta and Eggs Make a Quick, Nutritious Meal

Pasta and Eggs

Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years. When health experts noted that eggs contain cholesterol and that too much cholesterol could create health problems, many people began to avoid the yolks and instead rely on egg whites for their scrambled eggs or omelets.

In fact, there is much that is wonderful about using whole eggs in a dish. They are plentiful, inexpensive, easy to prepare in countless ways and loaded with protein, important nutrients and health-protective substances. What some experts failed to recognize about cholesterol is that egg yolks contain a substance called choline, which can help prevent the accumulation of cholesterol and fat in the liver. Today, health experts believe that, as long as your cholesterol levels are within a healthful range, a few eggs a week pose no problems.

This flavorful pasta-and-egg dish is a meal in itself, offering a hearty combination of fiber, nutrition and a variety of powerful phytochemicals that fight chronic diseases. It can be made more quickly by using leftover cooked pasta that has been gently warmed.

Basil, called “the royal herb” by the ancient Greeks, is a member of the mint family. It has a slightly pungent flavor and is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. When using fresh basil, choose evenly-colored leaves with no sign of brown spots or wilting. To store basil, wrap it in barely damp paper towels, place it in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated for up to four days.

There is no comparison between the flavor of fresh basil and that of dried. At this time of year, fresh basil is readily available in most grocery stores and farmers’ markets. It is also easy to grow throughout the summer.

Together, the ingredients for this dish create a colorful composition comprised of the egg’s bright yellow, the red of the tomatoes, the green of the herb and the creamy ivory of the grated cheese. You can serve it for breakfast and brunch or, when combined with a salad and perhaps soup, a lunch or dinner as well.

Eggs with Pasta

Makes 2 servings.

  • 8 large basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. canola oil or butter
  • 3-4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups cooked corkscrew or elbow pasta, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes (drained), or 2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. (1/2 oz.) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, crumbled or finely grated

Stack basil leaves on top of one another. Roll leaves lengthwise to make a fat cylinder and, using a sharp knife, cut crosswise into fine shreds. Set aside.

Heat the oil or butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggs. As soon as they set, about 30 seconds, add pasta. Scramble until the eggs are almost cooked as you like them. Mix in the tomato. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Turn the eggs and pasta onto 2 plates. Sprinkle basil and cheese over the eggs and serve.

Per serving: 371 calories, 13 g. total fat (3 g. saturated fat), 42 g. carbohydrate, 20 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 304 mg. sodium.

The Author:

AICR offers a Nutrition Hotline (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. This free service allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides a range of education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. It has provided more than $82 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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