Healthy New Year
Ah, January, season of good intentions. This is the time of year when pretty much everyone resolves to be a better, healthier eater—no more sweets! no more carbs! no more fun! But as Mr. Valentino shows, a healthy lifestyle can go hand-in-hand with la dolce vita. Sometimes, the Valentino trick is as simple as taking every meal, no matter the food, on a beautiful plate. Gorgeous porcelain will make even a dish like poached salmon and steamed spinach seem pretty exciting. (Lemon and spices help, too.)
But you need not fear the carbs, either. No Italian man can do without pasta, and Mr. Valentino fits it into his diet, now and then, by eating a whole grain form called kamut. Kamut is the trademarked name for khorasan wheat, an heirloom variety, and pasta made from it is both higher in protein than traditional kinds, yet more tender and less earthy-flavored than other pastas made from whole wheat. Mr. Valentino's chef has developed a low-fuss kamut pasta dish that's a favorite of Mr. Valentino's—a classic spaghetti-and-tomato sauce combo that's elevated by its fresh ingredients. Here's the recipe, from The Emperor's Table.
Kamut Pasta with Tomato Sauce
1 lb. kamut pasta
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
10 basil leaves
1 bay leaf
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, freshly ground pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
Cut a shallow X into the bottom of each tomato and blanch in boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove to an ice water bath to cool.
Peel the tomatoes.
Saute the onions, carrots and celery and a little olive oil over medium heat until softened.
Add the peeled tomatoes, basil and bay leaf, then cook for one hour over low heat.
When the sauce is fully cooked, season with salt and pepper then run through a food processer to blend.
Cook the kamut pasta al dente, drain, and toss with the tomato sauce.
Transfer the pasta to a deep dish, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with grated parmesan.