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Healthy & Delicious: Turkey Sausage and Arugula with Whole-Wheat Pasta

Note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

Over the last five years or so, whole-wheat pasta has become a fixture in light cooking. Admittedly, it's slightly healthier than durum-based pasta and pairs well with earthier ingredients like eggplant and spinach. But nine times out of ten, I prefer non-wheatie ziti (or rotini or capellini) as it's more versatile and better-tasting, not to mention a buck cheaper per box. As for the fiber issue, I figure I’ll get it elsewhere. Like say, from fruit or chewing on a piece of furniture.

However, there’s still that 10 percent of recipes where whole-wheat pasta works exceptionally well. Turkey Sausage and Arugula Pasta from Eating Well is one of them. Instead of acting as a blank canvas on which to pile vegetables, the whole-wheat pasta has a slightly nutty flavor and firm texture that goes well with the peppery greens and bright, sweet tomatoes. Everything’s topped off with a subtle, low-fat Parmesan sauce, which adds moisture and wonderful cheesiness without too many extra calories.

A note about that sauce: I considered mixing everything and then dousing it all in the parmesan concoction together, but went with the recipe and sauced the rotini, only. In retrospect, it was the better choice—the arugula wouldn’t have survived the ordeal. If you're tempted to do the same, don't. Seriously. Bad idea.

In the end, when it comes to whole-wheat pasta, I go by this rule of thumb: I buy it only if it will add to a dish's flavor, not for the health benefits. Both my food and my wallet are happier that way.

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