Low GI Recipes of the Month

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From this month, American dietitian Johanna Burani will be sharing some of her totally simple and simply delicious low GI Italian fare. Johanna has a home in Friuli, in northeastern Italy, which she visits frequently – always in pursuit of new recipes. Smashed Tomatoes and Penne from her most recent trip is a taste of good things to come in the next few months. If you can’t wait, visit her website: www.eatgoodcarbs.com

The recipes are photographed by her husband Sergio Burani. Sergio is a free-lance photographer specialising in wine and wineries worldwide. He devotes 20% of his time fulfilling the photographic needs of worthy charities. For more information check out: www.photosbysergio.com

Johanna Burani

Smashed tomatoes and penne
This recipe allows 60 g (2 1/2 oz) pasta per person which is plenty for a light meal or ‘i primi’ – first course. With pasta, take notice of the cooking times the manufacturer suggests, but ignore the suggested serving size. They are almost always too much pasta for a single meal, sometimes suggesting you use 500 g pasta for four people! That’s serious carb overload.
Serves 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (1 dry pint/450 g) grape (cherry) tomatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise
8 oz (240 g) penne or other short pasta
1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • In a medium-sized pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium–low heat for just a minute. Add the garlic and tomatoes and give it all a good stir then cover the pan and let it simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and, with the back of a wooden spoon or a fork, lightly smash the tomatoes (see photo).
  • In the meantime, bring a large pot of 2–3 quarts (litres) of water to the boil, add the salt and cook the pasta for 10–11 minutes until al dente following the packet instructions. Do not overcook. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the pasta mixture, stir so it is all well combined and serve immediately. Top with fresh basil leaves and freshly grated romano cheese if you wish – my family would send it back to the kitchen if I didn’t!

Per serving
1487 kJ/ 354 calories; 7 g protein; 15 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat and 0 mg cholesterol); 51 g carbohydrate; 3 g fibre

Seafood paella
‘Eat fish and seafood’ is the message from the Mediterranean diet and here’s a great recipe that’s a complete meal in a bowl to get you started. Brigid Treloar created it for a new range of easy seafood ‘meal options’ for Sydney Fish Markets – ‘Market Pride’. We used medium grain Doongara Clever Rice to reduce the GI and replaced the chorizo with 200 g sliced button mushrooms. Rest assured, it works as well with a seafood marina mix from your local fish shop. For more quick and easy fish or seafood recipes like this such as a seafood pizza or Spanish hotpot, check the Market Pride website.
Serves 4–6

3 1/2 cups (875 ml) fish or vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chorizo sausage, thinly sliced (optional)
1 small red capsicum, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or paprika
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups (300 g) rice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup (130 g) green peas (optional)
400 g (14 oz) Market Pride Australian Seafood Medley, or a seafood marina mix
1 lemon, cut in wedges
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


  • Heat the stock and saffron together in a saucepan.
  • Saute the chorizo (if you are using it), capsicum, onion, garlic in the oil in a frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the paprika and tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, add the hot stock, season with a quite few twists of black pepper, then simmer gently, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add peas and cook a further 3 minutes. Add the Seafood Medley (or marinara mix), cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, garnish with the lemons and parsley and cover with a clean tea towel for 5 minutes to absorb any excess moisture before serving.

Per serving (based on 6 serves and no chorizo)
1480 kJ/ 352 calories; 23 g protein; 7 g fat (includes 2 g saturated fat and 104 mg cholesterol); 46 g carbohydrate; 3.5 g fibre