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Fast & Easy Dinner: Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Bacon

Fast & Easy Dinner: Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Bacon

In an attempt to help my dad lower his cholesterol, I've been looking for recipes that feature whole grains. When I came across this recipe for whole wheat pasta tossed with a fragrant bacon and tomato sauce, I had to share it with both my dad and you! This hearty yet health-friendly pasta is scrumptious on a cold night, and is great when paired with a crunchy salad and crisp drink. It's simple to make the sauce and you will have dinner on the table in no time. Get the recipe when you

Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Bacon
From Rachael Ray

1 pound whole wheat rigatoni
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound thick-cut bacon, chopped
3 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth or dry white wine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to pass around the table

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and the bacon and cook until the bacon renders fat and crisps at the edges.
  3. Add the bay leaves and onion and season with a little salt and a healthy dose of pepper.
  4. Cook until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the broth and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a boil, then simmer to let the flavors combine.
  5. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and parsley to the sauce and toss.
  6. Transfer the rigatoni to a serving platter, discard the bay leaves and pass grated cheese around the table.

Serves 4.

Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
dinner tonight :)
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
PetitLapinVegan PetitLapinVegan 9 years
What a stunning photograph! However, if you are trying to lower cholesterol, why are you using a recipe that calls for bacon and cheese? Those are some of the most cholesterol/saturated fat-ridden foods on the planet. Perhaps some delicious plant-based foods might do the trick? Eating animal-based foods impairs the heart’s ability to do its job. Meat and dairy products are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. As these fatty substances, or “plaques,” build up inside the walls of arteries, blood flow to all areas of the body is impeded. This artery damage is called atherosclerosis. It often begins very early in life and develops gradually. When too little blood reaches various regions of the body, normal immune systems are impaired, setting people up for a number of diseases, most notably heart disease. Heart disease is the number one health problem in the United States today and, according to the American Heart Association, the single leading cause of death. Most heart disease is diet-related—caused by animal products. Research shows a highly significant correlation between the consumption of even small amounts of animal-based foods and the increasing prevalence of heart disease. A major study published in February 2005 reconfirmed the link between meat consumption and heart problems. The study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, concluded that among the 29,000 participants, those who ate the most meat were also at the greatest risk for heart disease. The researchers also reported that a high intake of protein from vegetable sources like tofu, nuts, and beans lowers our risk of heart disease by 30 percent. Dr. Linda E. Kelemen, the scientist who headed the study, told reporters, “Not all proteins are equal”—while vegetable protein can help keep our hearts healthy, eating animal protein can put us in an early grave. Studies show that people who experience frequent heart attacks often have high cholesterol levels; many also smoke or have high blood pressure. When these factors are controlled, heart attacks become rare. Foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as meat and dairy products, are the major contributors to high cholesterol levels. In fact, animal products are the only sources of dietary cholesterol. Here’s the good news: Now that we know what causes heart attacks, we can prevent them. Studies have shown that a vegan (pure vegetarian) diet—rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables—can stop and even reverse heart disease. People following a plant-based diet have 2.5 times fewer cardiac events, including heart attack, stroke, bypass surgery, and angioplasty. By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can significantly reduce and even eliminate your chances of dying from heart disease. Having high cholesterol means living with a greater risk of suffering a heart attack. For every 1 percent increase in the amount of cholesterol in the average American’s blood, there is about a 2 percent increase in the risk of heart attack; conversely, every 1 percent reduction from the average cholesterol level reduces the risk by about 2 percent. Elevated cholesterol—anything above 150—promotes atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol, fat, and cells in the arteries that feed the heart muscle. Incidentally, while the average cholesterol level in the U.S. is 210, the average vegetarian’s cholesterol level is 161 and the average vegan’s cholesterol level is 133. People with cholesterol levels below 150 are virtually assured of never having a heart attack, while nearly one-third of meat-eaters will die from one. Heart researchers have found that a vegan (pure vegetarian) diet is the best for lowering cholesterol levels. Plant foods contain no cholesterol, whereas meats, eggs, and dairy products contain large amounts of cholesterol, saturated fats, and concentrated protein—all harmful substances. In contrast, soy protein has been proved to lower cholesterol, and the high fiber content of a vegetarian diet helps eliminate excess cholesterol from your digestive tract (meat, dairy products, and eggs have no fiber at all). Even if you’ve been diagnosed with atherosclerosis, there’s still hope. Dr. Dean Ornish has demonstrated that the disease can be reversed without drugs and their sometimes dangerous side effects. In a landmark study, he put a group of patients on a completely vegetarian diet with less than 10 percent fat. They also had to engage in moderate exercise. Within a year, the plaques that had been growing in their hearts for decades actually started to dissolve. Patients’ chest pains disappeared, and their cholesterol levels dropped. Nearly 80 percent of people with severely clogged arteries who follow the Ornish program for at least a year are able to avoid bypass surgery and angioplasty. Says Dr. Ornish, “I don’t understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it’s medically conservative to cut people open or put them on powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs for the rest of their lives.” Although fish and fish-oil capsules have been promoted for their omega-3 fatty acids as a means of lowering heart-disease risk, these acids have highly unstable molecules that decompose quickly and unleash free radicals. Free radicals are damaging to living tissues and cells, but that damage can be prevented by antioxidants. The kinds of fatty acids found in vegetables, fruits, and beans lower free-radical activity while increasing antioxidant levels. When you choose vegetarian foods, you naturally and safely lower your risk for heart disease and other serious illnesses. You get twice the level of protection every time you eat.
mamaseacat mamaseacat 9 years
I accidentally made something similar to this. I wanted meat sauce but we didn't have any ground meat, so I just threw in bacon in the sauce. It was pretty tasty. I called it "breakfast spaghetti." :)
emalove emalove 9 years
I only eat whole wheat pasta, it's my favorite. I'm not sure about the bacon in it...I guess I'd have to try it first!
PooLovesBoo PooLovesBoo 9 years
I'm making this for dinner TONIGHT!
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 9 years
Changing dietary habits is hard. Putting a little bit of bacon in for flavor will make the change easier. Putting in less bacon or mixing it with equal part of turkey bacon can happen over time. You need the flavor to give the change a chance.
Home Home 9 years
whole wheat pasta is super yum! I also like to use spaghetti squash in place of pasta.
fragiletearz fragiletearz 9 years
It's only 1/3 of a pound, that's like 4 strips to the whole thing...Seriously. Turkey bacon is a good low fat sub, but it also isn't as good. I think that ALSW was right when she said it's about compromise...Let's keep this board friendly and if we don't have anything nice to comment, don't comment.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
mmmm i love bacon! this looks great!
michichan michichan 9 years
Mm! COuld you use pancetta?
Seraphim Seraphim 9 years
can i have that for lunch please??!!?! :)
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I think it's great, partysugar, that you're trying to find dishes that your dad will still like and trying to get him to lower cholesterol at the same time. It's about compromise, people.
Powerpuffgirl Powerpuffgirl 9 years
I love bacon, but it has no place in a low-cholesterol dish. Your dad's better off without it.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
It looks yum. I'm not a big bacon fan and it's so bad for you... But if I must I would decrease the amount and use turkey bacon.
Babychloe Babychloe 9 years
I've never had whole wheat pasta. I'm curious to see what it tastes like.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
You could always use turkey bacon in order to cut out some cholesterol as well. I love it! And this recipe sounds perfect for my husband and I!
fragiletearz fragiletearz 9 years
This looks SO good!
mindgrapes mindgrapes 9 years
Switching to whole wheat pasta is a step in the right direction, but do you really consider bacon heart healthy? (It does sound very tasty, though...)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Mmmm that looks super yum :feedme:
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