A guilt-free dish to start a healthy new year

A guilt-free dish to start a healthy new year

By Nick Risidi of Amici Ristorante on East Parade, Keighley, who revisits his Italian roots for another taste of the Mediterranean.

After a December filled with food, drink, and general merriment, the new year is thought to be the ideal time to try to be a better version of yourself. Something newer, an improved version, someone a little healthier at least. Most of us will start the new year vowing to eat better and move more. It is an admirable thing to do and not always an easy challenge. After a fun festive season, heading into the new year, with gloomy, dark days and gloomy weather, it doesn’t seem like the right time to eat salads and go for a run.

New Year’s resolutions are said to have started with the Babylonians, over 4,000 years ago. They were the first to celebrate the new year, although for them it began in mid-March when the crops were sown, and not in January as we celebrate these days.

A very similar practice occurred in ancient Rome, much closer to the way we celebrate it now. When the early Roman calendar was no longer in sync with the sun, Julius Caesar decided it was time for a change. After consulting with various astronomers and mathematicians, he introduced the Julian calendar, which more closely represents the modern calendar we use. Caesar declared January 1 as the first day of the year, in honor of the god of new beginnings, Janus. The Romans celebrated the new year by offering sacrifices to Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking back, allowing him to see into the past and the future. This is why, on December 31st, the Romans would imagine Janus looking back, to the past year, and the year after, and this is what would inspire them to make positive changes, to become better people moving forward, as well as to forgive his enemies for things that happened in the past. These were basically the new years resolutions we make today.

These days, our New Year’s resolutions tend to be more about self-improvement in general and it’s much easier to make a change now that there are so many movements to join and all kinds of alternatives available.

One of those initiatives that people like to participate in after the holidays is Dry January. Dry January is an annual campaign during which millions of people stop drinking alcohol during the month, that is, from the moment you wake up with that first hangover of the new year, until February 1, the participants do not consume a single drop of alcohol Dry January is not just for those who want/need to drink less, but for anyone who wants to make a positive change to their health, and also their bank balance, which may also be necessary after Christmas.

Then we have Veganuary. With more people switching to a plant-based diet than ever before, it’s easier to avoid animal products in your diet, and Veganuary is an ideal time to try, with supermarket shelves stocked with vegan alternatives to your favorite foods.

Many Italian dishes are vegan, just because they are, not because anything has been taken away from them, also alcohol-free, so try my guilt-free recipe to boost your health this year.

PRESCRIPTION

VEGAN SPRING PASTA

for 4 people

Ingredients:

250 g of fettuccine

2 tablespoons olive oil

100g broccoli florets

100 g of chopped asparagus

100g peas

5 small zucchini, julienned

200 ml of vegetable broth

30g vegan hard cheese

1 clove garlic

Chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Fill a large saucepan with water and add a little salt before placing the saucepan over high heat and bringing the water to a boil.

2. Add your pasta to the pan of water. The cooking time of the pasta will vary according to the instructions on the package.

3. Cut the asparagus into short stalks, about 3-4 cm long. Julienne the courgettes by cutting off both ends and cut in half before cutting the courgettes into thin strips. Reserve the asparagus and courgettes together with the broccoli florets and peas.

4. When the pasta is about to be half cooked, take a frying pan and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the skillet over medium heat until the olive oil is hot, and then add the asparagus, broccoli, and peas. Mince the garlic clove by crushing it with the flat of the knife, pressing it with your hand until you feel it crack. Peel the skin of the garlic with your hands before chopping it horizontally and then vertically until it is in very small pieces. Add to skillet.

5. Saute vegetables to the point where they are still crisp and bright green. Add the broth to the pan and cook until the liquid is reduced. Add salt and pepper to the pan to taste.

6. This should sync up nicely with your pasta, which should now be ready. Drain the pasta.

7. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the vegetables and toss.

9. Add the chopped parsley and toss/stir the pasta again.

10. Serve immediately, sprinkled with vegan-friendly cheese and salt and pepper to taste if desired.

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