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March 5, 2014 | Issue 494

Pep Up Your Pasta

Rigatoni with Red Peppers

Whole-wheat rigatoni and colorful red peppers are the stars of this simple pasta sauté. Whole grains are rich in fiber, a nutrient important for lowering risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal. The subtle sweetness of the red peppers is balanced by cherry tomatoes and spinach, adding potent phytochemicals. These natural plant compounds may help protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer.

Makes 6 servings.

Per 1½ cup serving: 282 calories, 6 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 49 g carbohydrate,
14 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 171 mg sodium.

  • 12 oz. rigatoni, whole-wheat preferred
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil


  1. Cook rigatoni according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup water. Return pasta to pot to keep warm.
  2. While pasta cooks, in skillet heat oil over high heat. Stir in onion, peppers and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add spinach and continue to sauté until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Add vegetables, reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to pasta and gently toss to combine.
  4. To serve, top pasta with basil and remainder of Parmesan cheese.

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Grocery list

Rigatoni, whole-wheat preferred
Extra virgin olive oil
Red onion
Red bell peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Spinach leaves
Parmesan cheese

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Recipe Extra:
Healthy Pasta Primavera

Did You Know?

Peppers are an ancient food that originated in Central and South America. They’re a good source of vitamin C and carotenoids.

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