Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Weight Watchers Plan: Spaghetti alla Puttanesca with Chicken

Regular readers know that I started cooking as part of a larger effort to lose weight and get healthy. I was significantly overweight and needed to make a change. But, it wasn't as if I hadn't tried before. My previous efforts had failed, primarily, for two reasons; I felt I had to completely give up foods I loved and there was no one there to help, educate and support me. My wife and I turned to Weight Watchers and learned how to live a healthier lifestyle without giving up on the foods we loved. We learned about healthier ways of cooking, eating and living.

In the last month, Weight Watchers has changed the way they assign points to food. The points plus system uses the amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat and fiber in a dish to determine the value. You get so many points in a day, plus additional points to use whenever needed through the week. The logarithm that determines point value is weighted toward lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

In honor of the new plan, I made a Spaghetti alla Puttanesca with Chicken. I love the story behind puttanesca. As the story goes, prostitutes (puttanesca translates literally as whores) in 1950s Italy were only allowed to leave the brothel to shop once a week, as opposed to daily, so they used ingredients that would keep; olives, anchovies, capers, garlic and peppers. How valid the story is doesn't matter, it's fun. And the dish is delicious. My version fortifies it with some onion and red wine and I use a small piece of chicken instead of anchovies to satisfy the fish-opposed pallet of our son.

The dish works out to 308 calories with 28 grams of protein, 36 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams each of fat and fiber.

Let's eat!

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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Make 6 servings
8 ounces dry whole wheat spaghetti
2 teaspoons olive oil
1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 3 breast halves) filleted and cut in half
1 small onion, diced
20 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup full-flavored red wine
28 ounces diced tomatoes in juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided

Put salted water on to boil for pasta and prepare pasta according to package directions, minus two minutes from al dante.

As you wait for the water to boil and the spaghetti to go in, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and cook, searing each side, until just cooked through. Remove chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same skillet, add onion, olives and capers. Saute until onions are just translucent, about 3 minutes, and add garlic, oregano and red pepper. Saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add wine and deglaze the skillet. Continue to cook until the wine is nearly evaporated. Add tomatoes and stir to combine.

The water should be ready by now, add the pasta and let the sauce reduce while the pasta cooks. Add 1/4 cup of parsley and salt and pepper to taste to the sauce.

When the pasta is 2 minutes from al dante, drain and add to the sauce. Stir the pasta in and continue to cook for 2 minutes.

Plate, top with remaining parsley and serve with chicken.

Deal of the Day: This Pinzon Stainless-Steel Mandoline is on my Christmas list and is marked down from $60 to $42 at Amazon!


KKSC2NC said...

Thank you for this recipe....I can not wait to make it!!!

Roxan said...

This is awesome, i never knew the translation of puttanesca, but when I think about it, it makes sense when I think of the spanish word for whore. I love the stories - whether true or not - behind foods. You did a great job with this dish, it looks flavorful and amazing!

Spicie Foodie said...

I love the story and name of this pasta. Every time I hear it, it makes me laugh. Your pasta and chicken variation sound really good. I'd love to make this with the chicken like yours, anchovies are somewhat hard to come by around here.

Scott K said...

thanks all!

Cajun Chef Ryan said...

WW has some great recipes, and this one looks like a keeper too! I just joined The Biggest Loser Club and started their diet and fitness plan this week, I have already lost 2 pounds. All the best on your weight plan!

Bon appetit!

Christina said...

Oh how funny, I never knew the puttanesca story! Thanks for sharing! :)

Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having said...

I had never heard the puttanesca story before, and to be honest I don't think I knew what went into the recipe. This dish sounds really good, can't wait to try it!

emily (a nutritionist eats) said...

Do you like the new point system? I want to look into it, from what I've heard so far, I like the direction it is going in.

Scott K said...

Emily, I'm still finding my way around it, but I have found it more discerning as far as how healthy something is. said...

I am looking forward to making this! In fact, I am enjoying all of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

The Mom Chef said...

This does look fantastic. What was funny is that I have another magazine open and there's a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca on this page. It must be the month for that dish. This recipe uses anchovies (I think I like yours a LOT better!).

Hilah said...

Thanks, Scott! I love puttanesca! That picture is making me hungry.

Scott K said...

Thanks all! Mom, it's a good time for puttanesca because there aren't as many good, fresh, ingredients available.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I like this chicken version!

Anonymous said...

wanna try it

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