Blog post content sponsored by Barilla
If your busy household is like mine, you love anything that makes mealtime easier. I am always in a rush to make dinner during the week and my family loves pasta, so we keep plenty on hand for weeknight meals. Not only is pasta convenient and easy to make, it’s a fabulous partner for nutrient-rich ingredients like vegetables, healthy oils, and seafood and is a traditional staple of the Mediterranean Diet.
Using one of Barilla’s helpful Recipe Builders, I created this fresh, California-inspired Shrimp Orecchiette with Napa Cabbage and Avocado. The Recipe Builders guide you through creating a balanced recipe under 500 calories, starting with your favorite pasta shape. Depending on which builder you’re using (Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, etc.), you’ll then add in various seasonings, vegetables, protein and flavor elements. It totally takes the guesswork out of making a pasta dish that is balanced from a nutrition and flavor perspective—love it!
Pasta is not only a healthy staple ingredient, diets that include pasta are associated with improved diet quality. One study found that 1 in 5 Americans who consumed pasta as part of a Mediterranean diet had over 20 percent better overall diet quality, as well as lower body weight and waist circumference compared to those who didn’t eat pasta at all.
Many people ask me about how much pasta makes a portion. It’s a great question! Approximately one cup of cooked pasta is a portion, depending on the shape. For the proper portion of pasta per shape, check out this helpful chart. As a general rule of thumb, one serving of pasta looks about the size of a baseball when you put it in a bowl. And of course, we add other items to our pasta dish, like protein, veggies and cheese. Here is a great visual guide that will help you understand what a balanced bowl looks like.
To make this delicious recipe, here’s what you’ll need:
Shrimp Orecchiette with Napa Cabbage and Avocado
Makes 6 servings
1 box Barilla Collezione orecchiette
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup dry white wine
12 ounces uncooked medium shrimp, with tails on
¼ cup sliced avocado
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup torn basil leaves
- Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the package directions call for. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the cabbage and cherry tomatoes and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Add the white wine and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until opaque. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add reserved pasta water. Add cooked pasta and combine.
- Remove skillet from heat. Add avocado slices on top.
- Drizzle with vinegar.
- Garnish with basil and serve.