Italian cuisine has consistently been voted as one of the most popular cuisines in the world and has enamored millions of taste buds for centuries. It holds a universal appeal that transcends race, religion and age. Its modest ingredients and easy preparation methods have allowed different cultures to spawn their own versions of favorite Italian delicacies.
One food staple that is probably synonymous with Italian food is pasta. Considered as a simple carb, people who have undergone weight loss surgery are advised to skip eating pasta, of any form or size. For one of New Yorker clients, this was definitely a struggle.
Sofia considers herself a true-blooded Italian through and through. Although born in Queens, she was raised in a traditional Italian home – she spoke Italian fluently, recited Catholic prayers, and of course cooked her pasta from scratch.
She was not always overweight, in fact, she proudly recalled being the most popular girl in church due to her svelte figure and dark lustrous hair! She married in her mid-20’s, had four children and now, at 58, has six grandchildren.
Sofia has always been grateful that all her children have stayed in New York so she and her husband can often see their grand kids. What saddened her though was how her weight at 260 pounds had stopped her from enjoying more time with her grandchildren. She would baby sit only inside the house because her size limited her to do a lot of physical activities, such as taking her grand kids to theme parks or to the beach.
Barely in her 60’s, she knew that she had a full life ahead of her and she wanted to take advantage of these coming years.
One of the things that was non-negotiable for Sofia was giving up her beloved Italian flavors. So, I developed this Pasta-Free Lasagna recipe with her in mind. Of course, Sofia’s version would probably taste better because she told me she had a special recipe for the Marinara sauce! Well, I’m sure you can find a version you’ll love too!
Pasta Free Lasagna
- 3/4 cup fat free or 2% cottage/ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup 2% milk mozzarella cheese
Combine cottage or ricotta cheese, egg whites, oregano, basil together and place mixture in an oven proof dish. Pour marinara sauce on top of mixture and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes in the oven. Alternatively, heat in the microwave until hot and bubbly.