This bowl of pasta is chock-full of tender calamari.
That much, you can see.
But did you know there is also one serving of vegetables hidden within that is not visible?
Yes, there is corn, carrot and squash — a half cup’s worth — incorporated into each 4 ounces of the dried spaghetti noodles.
Golden Grain has launched a new line of pasta, Hidden Veggie, that comes in spaghetti, thin spaghetti, small penne and twisted elbows. The pasta cooks up just like any other dried pasta. It also looks and tastes the same as any other. In other words, your spaghetti isn’t going to all of a sudden taste like Bug Bunny’s favorite snack.
What you get, though, is 150mg of potassium per 2-ounce serving compared to the company’s regular spaghetti that contains none. The Hidden Veggie spaghetti also weighs in at 200 calories per 2-ounce serving, 10 calories fewer than the company’s regular spaghetti. The total fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, dietary fiber and protein amounts are the same with both, though the Hidden Veggie has 5mg of sodium, compared to 0mg for the company’s regular dried pasta.
If you’re worried about your family getting enough potassium, Hidden Veggie pasta is one way to up that nutrient quotient. Each 12-ounce box is about $1.99 and available at Safeway stores.
I used the Hidden Veggie spaghetti in this recipe for “Linguini with Calamari Sauce,” swapping out the slightly wider, flatter noodles called for originally. The recipe is from “Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book” (Welden Owen) by food journalist Julia Della Croce, of which I received a review copy when it was first published three years ago. What’s great about this book is that it truly spans the world of pasta, including recipes not only for making fresh Italian pasta and dishes with dried noodles, but also for making Asian noodles and dumplings. Find recipes for everything from “Fresh Herb Pappardelle with Veal and Lemon” to “Pork and Cabbage Gyoza.”
The calamari pasta sauce cooks up quickly, in only about twice the time it takes to cook the dried spaghetti. Shallots, garlic, rosemary and pepper flakes are sweated gently in olive oil, before adding tomato paste, red wine and bottled clam juice. The calamari is added in for the final five minutes of cooking. I used calamari bodies, already cleaned and scored, purchased from my local Japanese market to make the process even easier.
The tangle of noodles absorbs the briny sauce that’s a little sweet from the tomato paste and a little spicy from the pepper flakes. The tender calamari add just enough chew.
It’s a dish that’s a classic at Italian restaurants. Try your hand at it to realize just how easy it is to make at home, too.
CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win practically a year’s worth of Golden Grain Hidden Veggie pasta — 24 coupons, each good for one free package of the new pasta varieties. Hidden Veggie pasta has rolled out in these markets: San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Oahu, Seattle and Portland, Ore. So, entries should be limited to those folks who live in those markets or have friends in those regions you want to give the winnings to. Entries will be accepted through midnight PST March 23. Winner will be announced March 25.
How to win?
If a fairy with a magic wand could make it so, what else would you want a year’s worth of? And why? Best answer wins the pasta.
Here’s my own answer: