Skinny Italians Eat Pasta: Simple and Delicious 5-Ingredient Spaghetti Dish

I do like Spaghetti. But it is also one of those foods that if you are not careful can be really fattening. Its not the fact that pasta in itself is fattening, it’s the ingredients that we chose to dress the pasta with that often times makes the dish fattening. You are already eating carbs so I always say dress it light. Here in Italy most Pasta dishes are dressed really simple and with few ingredients, I think that this is the secret as to why Italians are really all so thin even though they eat pasta pretty much everyday. This is the secret: Always use fresh and natural ingredients, dress lightly and most of all don’t overcook.

Overcooked pasta sends blood sugar higher than pasta cooked al dente. Italians believe that overcooked pasta is harder on your digestive tract than al dente which is easier for your body to digest and doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish. When pasta is overcooked, it means it has absorbed its maximum amount of liquid. Pasta cooked al dente, on the other hand, can still absorb more during the digestive process and therefore digests more easily.

Pasta al dente also has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta, so it has less of an impact on your blood sugar levels. The Pasta Italians eat that are high-quality pastas made of hard durum wheat semolina and whole grain pastas have staying power. Their low glycemic indexes mean that they give you a slow, steady supply of fuel while allowing your blood sugar levels to stay constant, which helps protect you from getting hungry between meals. With all this said you should still have portion control (about 100gr. per serving), don’t have a huge plate and always try to accompany with either protein of veggies.

Oh, and please don’t ever rinse your pasta when you drain, unless you are serving a cold pasta salad. If you went over the cooking time you may throw in a cup of cold water in the pot to stop the boiling and cooking process of the pasta.


250 gr. Spaghetti NΒ° *

8 oz can of Natural Tomato Sauce

1 Garlic clove

A few leaves of basil

Drizzle of Olive oil

Salt to taste

(chilies optional)

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Place a pot of salted water to boil. In a medium sauce pan drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat and then add your garlic clove peeled but whole (you just want the oil to pickup the aroma), allow garlic to turn slightly golden and then remove from pan, add your can of tomato sauce now cover and allow to simmer.

By now your water should be boiling throw in your Spaghetti and allow to cook for about 8 minutes stirring occasionally. (Always follow cooking instructions on the box).

Throw in you basil leaves and add salt to taste in you tomato sauce. (Chilies as well if using.)

Drain your spaghetti and either join in together in the sauce pan and mix with all the sauce or you can put back in the pot add a few ladles of sauce and stir. Serve and add some sauce on top and sprinkle parmigiano on top.


* You can use any type of Pasta you have


51 thoughts on “Skinny Italians Eat Pasta: Simple and Delicious 5-Ingredient Spaghetti Dish

  1. I always say “the simpler it is, the more effective it is” and your dish is not only simple but effective too. πŸ™‚

  2. Cristina,
    Thanks for the recipe! Can I ask why you aren’t supposed to rinse the pasta? I always rinse it with cold and then run it under hot again because (I thought) it took more of the starch away. But I’ve had a few people give me a funny look because of it! So, can you please tell me?

    • Rinsing the pasta is not a mistake ‘perse’ it’s the fact that you just take away from the experience of a good pasta dish. The reason why people started rinsing the pasta after or while draining was to avoid it from sticking; the only reason that the pasta will stick is if you don’t stir it while cooking and if you overcook it, by rinsing it the pasta gets cold and if you are eating a hot dish that’s no good; also if your pasta is cooked al dente then you need the starch on it so that it can absorb some of that delicious sauce you made.
      To avoid sticking: 1) make sure that your water is boiling when you throw the pasta in; 2) make sure to stir while it’s cooking; and 3) make sure that you cook for the amount of time stated on the book, not more (if using and Italian brand); if not test it by biting it if it is slightly white in the center but still chewable. it shouldn’t by any means melt in your mouth, you should have to chew it.
      I hope that this helps. Thank you for stopping by Mythineats.

  3. well, perfect explanation, I daresay! but you left out what is perhaps the main reason for not overcooking pasta: overcooked pasta is just awful!
    In my family 100g of pasta is a big portion, though. We tend to stick to 75g, and I personally find that 50g with a veggie sauce is enough for me πŸ™‚

    • You’re correct it does taste awful. And I think that a smaller portion like 75gr is good and probably better, but when making such a light sauce and sticking to one dish I think 100 gr. is more reasonable. But Great input, Grazie!

  4. I ALWAYS made the mistake of rinsing the Pasta! After we use to garlic to season the oil… what do we do with it?

    I love adding veggies to the sauce too… It’s a nice way to keep the pasta intake down πŸ™‚

    • Rinsing the pasta is not a mistake ‘perse’ it’s the fact that you just take away from the experience of a good pasta dish. The reason why people started rinsing the pasta after or while draining was to avoid it from sticking; the only reason that the pasta will stick is it you don’t stir it while cooking and is you over cook it, by rinsing it the pasta gets cold and if you are eating a hot dish that’s no good and also, if your pasta is cooked al dente then you need the starch on it so that it can absorb some of that delicious sauce you made. About the garlic, I usually throw it away, but if you really like the garlic flavor and you wish to not throw it out you can either use it for some garlic bread or you can chop it up finely at the beginning and just leave it in the whole time with the sauce. I hope that this was helpful.
      Thanks for stopping by mythineats.

      • It is quite interesting the little tidbits we can learn from what we eat, and how it can affect our bodies. Have a great day!

  5. Hadn’t known about al dente pasta not spiking blood sugar as much, Thanks! I also use cold water while cooking pasta – throw in a cup or so – the cold water forces the heat into the pasta and helps the pasta cook faster inside so you don’t have to overcook it.

    • Yes, nice little tidbit about the Al dente. I would suggest to not throw in the cup of cold water while your pasta is boiling, this will cause it to stop cooking. If you go over the cooking time and want to stop the cooking process as so not to overcook then I would suggest that you add cold water before draining. If you follow the instructions on the pasta box cook it the time it says or 1 minute less. Sometimes if you notice they give you 2 cooking times always opt for the least amount of time and make sure that your water is boiling before you throw in the pasta.

      Happy cooking and thank you for stopping by mythineats.

    • Yes, You will notice the difference in how you feel when you get up from the table when you eat the pasta al dente. You feel energized vs. sluggish.
      Thanks for stopping by mythineats

      • I’ve been cooking al dente since I can remember, but mostly for the better taste–I hate slimy noodles! But it’s kinda an ah ha moment that it’s healthier. I want to change to whole wheat noodles. Have any brand suggestions?

      • Whole wheat…let see, here in Italy I like to use pasta made with Kamut whenever possible because it just tastes delicious and not so different for regular pasta, I like the De Cecco or you can try Barilla (for wholewheat), also they have different brands in health food stores you just have to see what works for you, a little of experimenting. Enjoy!!

      • I’ve used Barilla and like it. Easy’s good enough for me! Wow…you’re IN Italy??! I’ve never been, but that’s one of my must-goes someday!

      • Yes, we moved here in March 2011, so a year now and things have been going great. Italy is gorgeous, not just because I was born and raised here, but it truly is.

      • Honestly, and not just because I am from here….I love Italy I think that it’s breathtaking and you really just appreciate it. I still after 27 years continue to get amazed by it’s beauty (it’s sad that pictures can’t always relate the true beauty of it). So, the Country, the Food, the Wine, the Fashion and the slow pace are amazing and it is true about Italy having a slower and more peaceful pace. However, like all countries we are flawed as well, by living at such a slow pace we tend to be a little more inconvenient, everything closes at lunch, on Sundays unless you are going to a restaurant or bar, everything else is closed, you can only do things between certain hours and certain days, and of course job opportunities aren’t everywhere (or atleast not the ones you want as a career), it’s a little tougher than the USA in that sense. But, if you can live with that and get used to this lifestyle you see no flaws at all and it really is worth it.

      • Oh, I could definitly live there!! I wish I actually could. I think it would be so good for our health to live outside the US with all it’s fast food, but I keep thinking to myself If I’d just cook that way…but then I don’t. I need to discipline myself to just make that a way of life in my own household.

      • You can do it. I did it while living in the USA, it wasn’t always easy but you can. Just don’t think of fast food as an option, make your own fast food. Let’s say your out and your hungry, I used to go into the grocery store buy a salad or fruit. Or I had a little health store right by the office and I would buy almonds, or a healthy sugar free nut bar, or sulfite free dried fruit, or if you are really hungry get some turkey meat and whole wheat bread or wrap, no sauce (maybe some mustard), veggies and your set. Don’t order salads with sauces, order lemon or vinegar olive oil on the side.. I know it’s a little tougher but so worth it. Here in Italy thats what we do. We don’t have fast foods. You go home and cook or you have these possibilities. I hope it helps somewhat.

      • I’m slowly inching my way that direction. My children love a trip to Chic-Fil-A, but they always order fruit with it, and when we eat out, which is becoming less, my kids order a salad with it and eat the entire thing. They try new things that I cook without hesitation and they eat tuna! In this culture, I call that a small marvel, lol. But…it’s just the beginning.

      • Well that’s fantastic. Sounds like you have it under control and are headed in the right direction. Good for you and your family. That’s wonderful that your kids are so healthy. Keep it up!

  6. mmm, this sounds divine! thanks for stopping by – your blog looks like a keeper, italian is one of my favorites not only to eat but to cook as well πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰
    xoxo, kristina

    • Well, Thank you! It is delicious. I can relate to liking pasta since you where a child. I myself loved spaghetti since 6 months, my Mom says that that was the only thing I wanted to eat when I decided to stop breastfeeding. I used to love when she used to make me Spaghetti al Burro, which is Spaghetti with butter. A little parmigiano and I was set. YUM! Thanks for stopping by Mythineats.

  7. As an Italian I can confirm — it’s all true! πŸ™‚

    And yes, leaving in England you see all sorts of mistakes people make when cooking pasta. The first time I saw someone rinsing pasta after cooking it I was horrified.

    Thanks for this post!

  8. I love this! I had no idea about the overcooking vs. al dente…wonderful to know when we’re starting to eat low-glycemic! And you’re so right, simple is often better

    • Yes, it is. We all know about the food but sometimes it’s the way we eat it that has a negative effect on us not per se what we eat. Thanks for stopping by mythineats.

  9. Reblogged this on La Bella Dolce Vita and commented:
    I just read this interesting pasta article from Cristina is the author of this post. Check out her blog, she has a lot of healthy recipes and tips for eating well and staying slim.

    P.S. She moved to Italy with her husband… how amazing is that!

    • Thank you for the support! I appreciate the fact that you like and find my blog helpful. That is my main goal and the sole reason of the blog. Thanks for stopping by Mythineats.

    • I love that you have a garden, I always like to use things that are natural and if you have a garden then even better. Thanks for stopping by Mythineats

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