Friday, February 3, 2012

The Heart of the Matter

February is American Heart Month.

Heart disease is kind of a big deal in my family - there's a major history, which is a big part of the reason why I choose to cook heart healthy, low-sodium fare.

So, for the rest of the month, I am going to include some sort of "heart healthy" food in every meal I prepare, and highlight it for you. Now, lest you worry I'm going to get all preachy about heart health, I'm not. It's just a little challenge-inside-a-challenge for my personal challenge pleasure. Woah.. that's a whole lotta challenge.

I have pulled a list of "Top 25 Heart Healthy Foods" and "24 Foods That Can Save Your Heart" from WebMD to serve as my guide. I know that these lists aren't all-inclusive, but let's go with it.

PS - Today was National Go Red for Women Day. Heart disease is the #1 killer of of women. I dug through the depths of my wardrobe and pulled out my one and only red sweater and wore it in support. Solidarity, peeps!

Farfalle with Lamb Ragu, Ricotta & Mint
Source: Cooking Light "Our Best Pasta & Noodle Dishes" Winter 2012

  • 4 tsp EVOO
  • 8 oz lean ground lamb
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt (skip)
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped carrot
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (didn't use fresh)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper (skip)
  • 1.5 c. canned crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth (used no-salt added)
  • 8 oz cooked bow-tie pasta
  • 1/2 c. part-skim ricotta
  • 1/4 c. small fresh mint leaves (skip)
Heart Healthy ingredients: carrots; tomatoes; rosemary; EVOO

  • Heat 1 tsp EVOO in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add lamb; cook 5 mins, stirring to crumble. Remove lamb from pan with a slotted spoons; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Discard drippings from pan. Reduce heat to med-low. Add 2 tsp EVOO, onion and carrot, cook 5 mins or until tender. Add rosemary and garlic; cook 1 min, stirring constantly.
  • Return lamb to pan; add wine. Increase heat to med-high; cook 3 mins or until liquid almost evaporates. Add remaining salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and broth; bring to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
  • While sauce simmers, cook pasta. Drain pasta, return to pan. Stir in 1 c. sauce and remaining 1 tsp EVOO. Spoon 1 c. pasta mix onto each of four plates; top each serving with remaining 3/4 c. sauce, 2 tbsp ricotta and 3 tbsp mint.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 464 cals; 16.9g fat (5.9g sat, 7.6g mono, 1.5g poly); 23.9g protein; 54.7g carb; 51mg chol; 629mg sodium

I didn't reveal the "secret" ingredient of lamb to the kid until he was done eating. He loved the dish - gave it four forks. The hubs also enjoyed his, pointing out it wasn't that different from regular meat. I disagree with the hubs - I think the lamb had quite a strong and distinct flavor, and while I thought the entire meal was good, I can't say that I'm eager to have lamb on a regular basis. I also don't know that the ricotta at the end added that much.

Three Forks


  1. Hooray for heart healthy meals!! I love lamb, but we eat it very rarely. And by that I mean - not rare - but seldom! Growing up I only ever got it on special occasions, and always while eating out. My mother is NOT a fan. She says it's too gamey. Me? Love it!

    1. Truth be told, this was the first time I ever made lamb. It was supposed to be part of my "try new foods" week but I couldn't finish that week up! I might be with your mom on this one :)