My introduction to “spaghetti night” was a TV commercial I watched when I was about 10 informing me that “Wednesday night is Prince Spaghetti night”. Although I celebrate it on Thursdays, this special occasion has stuck with me. I love pasta in any form and when I learned years later that the Mediterranean diet is recommended to promote healthy weight and reduce risk for diabetes and heart disease, a smile crossed my face. I envisioned a plate full of spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad with lots of tomatoes and sweet peppers, dressed with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan and Romano cheese.
I met my husband on spaghetti night (a blind date over 2 healthy bowls of pasta with red sauce), and we have been cooking sauce ever since. I’ll admit we eat pasta and the aforementioned salad at least three times a week at home, and Thursday is spaghetti night out.
Why is this important? Although my story of spaghetti night is anecdotal “evidence” our experiment with homemade sauce (“The Godfather” recipe minus the sugar) and liberal salad on the side has kept us lean, non diabetic, and heart healthy. Yes, we exercise too and are non smokers, but I am convinced there is magic in olives, tomatoes and red peppers.
My bias for homemade sauce on top of pasta extends to my patients, whom I assure can enjoy carbohydrates of the non sugar variety. The key here is to make your own sauce and use ingredients supplied by nature. Boxed pasta is allowed.
I say bring spaghetti night back to the people! Do not fear pasta, eat it! If you don’t believe a diet rich in pasta can be healthy, we’ll set an extra place on spaghetti night.
Andrea L. Brand, MD
749 Norton Street
Longboat Key, FL34228
Published March 10, 2015