Whole Wheat Angel Hair with Toasted Almonds and Pomegranate

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Angel Hair with Toasted Almonds and Pomegranate

Are you as busy as I am? You might even be busier, but Christmas time is the worst time to compromise your food choices.

If you are like me, you still want delicious, and, I hope you want something nutritionally sound. But, it has to be fast, because the competition for your food dollars is very steep. Pizza at the door or burgers through the window almost make sense as we rush from store to store or have a kitchen full of flour, sugar and sprinkles.

This week I started thinking about this blog and how difficult it has been for me to spend a decent amount of time in the kitchen. Thus,we have been eating fast food, but it’s not a McChristmas. I hope to share several ideas for fast, real food, as my schedule for cooking is getting tighter. The key to healthy eating during the holidays is a decently stocked pantry and an open mind.

I love breads made with fruits and nuts, so why not pasta. Pasta used to be eaten almost exclusively with either a “red” sauce or a “white” sauce. But, we now know those choices are limiting and pasta is much more versatile.

This is a fruit and nuts pasta that I think is just perfect in keeping with holiday flavors. I paired it with an incredible loaf of fig and pistachio bread that I purchased on my recent trip to California. I bought it the day before I left and stuck it in the freezer the night I got home. (I was already thinking ahead).

Don’t be afraid to step outside the box a bit and try new combinations. You might be surprised how good pomegranates taste in a pasta dish.

First course or entree? Unlike true Italians, I usually just eat pasta as an entree. But, this would be a lovely first course for a festive dinner.

Tell me readers, what “fast” food are you eating during the holiday rush?

1 pound whole wheat pasta (preferably very thin spaghetti or angel hair)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, smashed, chopped
1/3 cup white wine or few splashes vermouth (optional)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, freshly grated
Pomegranate arils (optional, but recommended)

Prepare by taking all ingredients out and having them in place.
Boil water for pasta, adding lots of salt.
While water is boiling, heat butter and olive oil in pan. Add garlic and almonds. Once garlic is golden, add white wine, and cook down on medium-low heat, until. Add parsley. Add cooked pasta.

Angel hair pasta does not take longer than 4-5 minutes, and in this case you will be putting pasta back into frying pan, so be sure to cook al dente. Drain pasta, reserving a large splash of starchy water. Add in a tablespoon or so of pasta water. Toss and heat for about a minute. Toss with pecorino cheese and parsley. Top with pomegranate arils. Serve immediately.

• Exchange almonds for pistachios, walnuts or pecans.
• Flavor olive oil with oranges.
• Add lemon or orange zest at the end.
• Replace parsley with some baby spinach leaves.
• Exchange pomegranate with dried fruit.

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