Two years ago, when I first started clean eating, people would ask me what “clean eating” meant.
And to answer them, I pulled from a variety of explanations.
“You eat God-made food, not man-made.”
“Food that’s not made in a factory.”
“Food that’s in its most natural, wholesome state.”
The other day, while browsing Instagram, I spied another excellent way to explain what clean eating is … you don’t eat food with ingredients.
And it really is that simple.
Oreos have ingredients. Tomatoes do not.
And tonight’s new recipe (and dinner!) is a great representation of that concept.
Extra virgin olive oil.
In exactly twenty minutes, you have a perfectly healthy, completely delicious meal on your table. Without the guilt. Without having to run to the store to search high and low for special items. Without a second thought.
While the pasta is cooking, you whirr the rest of the ingredients in a food processor. Top it over the pasta once it’s done.
A little sweetness from the raisins. Full-bodied flavor from the raw tomatoes. Slightly salty bites from the capers. Just all ’round goodness that you can feel right about putting on the table … and into your mouth. And if you find yourself thinking ick from raisins, almonds, and anchovies mixed together, I promise since they’re blitzed in a food processor, you won’t notice them at all, just the combined wonderful flavor they produce together.
And if that doesn’t motivate you, the 20 minutes from start to finish to make this dish certainly will.
The recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s newest cookbook, Nigellissima (which I don’t have yet, but this recipe was shared in a recent issue of People magazine). I’ve found that her recipes, and those from Jamie Oliver, all fit pretty neatly on the clean eating spectrum.
*PS in the grand scheme of things, pasta is not clean eating. But we have it in moderation at best. Once a month, at most. Had a run to the grocery store been in the cards today, I could have used a whole wheat pasta, or other enriched pasta, to make it even better. For those that like spaghetti squash (I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet), this sauce would be great over that as well.
*PPS If you read Sweetnicks by typing in the url and going to the actual site (as opposed to a reader), you may have noticed me playing with the header image over the past few days. I wanted to make a change but wasn’t quite exact about what I wanted. Yesterday and today I had a chalkboard image as the background, and liked it, but didn’t love it. And it didn’t help that two other opinions I asked for didn’t like it either. And then late this afternoon I had an inspiration for a different background, and that’s what you see now. Which I love. And luckily my back-up opinionators do too. I kept the font, words, and sizing all the same (and it has been consistent forever and a day), because I feel like that’s part of my branding. The background image? It happens to be a piece of a watercolor Madeline painted me last month. Which makes me love it even more.
Sicilian Pasta with Tomatoes, Garlic, and Almonds
Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima
1-1/4 lbs fusilli lunghi (or other pasta of your choice)
1 pinch of salt
1-1/4 cherry or grape tomatoes
6 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 cloves garlic (I used three)
2 tablespoon capers (drained)
1/3 cup whole, blanched almonds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves, torn
Cook fusilli in boiling salted water, according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce by putting all the remaining ingredients, except the basil, into a processor and blitzing until you have a nubbly-textured sauce. Just before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of pasta-cooking water and add 2 tablespoonfuls of it down the funnel of the processor, pulsing as you go. Turn the drained pasta into a warmed serving bowl. Pour the sauce on top, tossing to coat (add a little more pasta-cooking water if you need it) and strew with basil leaves.