Spaghetti with Bacon and Pesto

How can a dish be healthy when it contains bacon, hard cheese and oil?  Easy!  It’s all about buying wisely and getting your proportions right.  This dish is healthy because it’s full of complex carbohydrates, fibre and mono-unsaturated oil.  Don’t always avoid oil – it’s good for you.

Serves: 4; Cals per portion:  520; Total fat port portion:  21g

Ingredients: Pesto:  4 cloves garlic, peeled; 25g (1oz) fresh, roughly chopped basil; 75g (3 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated; 4 medium tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped; 40ml (3 tbsp) olive oil.

Spaghetti and Sauce: 300g (11oz) dried spaghetti; Salt; 100g (3 1/2oz) broccoli broken into small florets; 50g (2oz) frozen petits pois; 5ml (1tsp) corn oil; 150g (5 1/2 oz) low-salt, extra-lean back bacon, de-rinded and cut into strips; 8 cherry tomatoes halved; fresh basil leaves to garnish

  • Make the pesto first by pounding all the ingredients together with a pestle and mortar until you have a thick paste.
  • Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water for 8-10 mins or until just tender.  Meanwhile put the brocolli and petits pois in a small quantity of water, and steam for 2-3 mins.  Drain and keep warm.
  • Brush the base of a non-stick frying pan with the corn oil and add the strips of bacon and the halved cherry tomatoes.  Slowly heat the frying pan and stir once or twice until the bacon is crisp and the tomatoes are cooked.
  • Drain the spaghetti and tip it into a serving bowl.  Pour the pesto over the top of the spaghetti and add the bacon and vegetables and stir.  Garnish with basil leaves and serve.
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