Back with another restaurant recipe redo. This time it’s the Noodles & Company Pesto Cavatappi. Our reader writes:
“I love Noodles & Company and their efforts to simplify healthy eating through their Your Health section on their website. However, I did a search and discovered that my beloved Pesto Cavatappi has 760 calories and 30 grams of fat! Yikes! Please work your magic and help me recreate this pesto dream at home, hopefully in a way that’s more kind to my waistline.”
The For Your Health section of the Noodles & Company website is great. It is a great resource to help you prepare before heading out to the eatery. I recently read this article in the LATimes about California fast food restaurants preparing for 2011 when they will have to post the information on their menus and menu boards. They featured Panda Express who just introduced what it calls its Wok Smart menu that identifies 18 dishes that contain 250 calories or less per serving. The items aren’t new offerings. They are regular Panda Express menu choices that the chain is now actively directing consumers to its more healthful selections. This is similar to what Noodles & Company is doing.
Okay – onto the redo! When I was browsing the site, I noticed that it recommends ordering the Pesto Cavatappi without cream to reduce the fat. I never make my pesto with cream, so right there I can guarantee this recipe will be better for you waistline. I will also try to improve the typical pesto pasta recipe with some substitutions.
Modernation’s Spinach and Basil Pesto (makes about 3 cups)
Send me your recipes you want made over.
2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
Wash and dry spinach and basil and dry well. Put in food processor with steel blade and pulse repeatedly until both are well chopped. Add garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan and blend for 2-3 minutes until nuts are finely chopped and mixture is well combined. With lid on and processor running, drizzle olive oil in through the feeder tube until mixture is the consistency you prefer. If the consistency is too thick, add olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
Serve one cup cooked whole wheat pasta (like penne or rotini) with 1/4 cup pesto per person.
The pesto will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and can also be frozen for future uses. Use over pasta, grilled vegetables, or as a sandwich spread.
Per quarter cup of pesto
16.5 grams fat
With 1 cup whole wheat pasta
17.5 grams fat
That is almost half the calories and fat! The original had 760 calories and 30 grams of fat.