Low GI Recipes of the Month

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American dietitian, Johanna Burani invites GI News readers to try recipes from her Italian kitchen (photographed by Sergio Burani).

Johanna Burani

Pappardelle con funghi
Egg noodles with mushrooms
Laughing Cow cheese wedges are pasteurized spreadable Swiss flavor cheese wedges.
Serves 4

450 g (1 lb) fresh mushrooms (crimini, baby portabella, Swiss brown)
12 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced (approximately 1/2 cup)
6 Laughing Cow cheese wedges, light
1 cup marsala wine (sweet red dessert wine)
230 g (8 oz) egg pappardelle


  • Use a damp paper towel to wipe mushrooms clean. Cut each one into 4–5 vertical slices.
  • Thoroughly coat a large skillet with vegetable spray and warm over a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for 6 minutes. Stir frequently to cook evenly. Lower the heat if necessary. Stir in the parsley and simmer for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat.
  • Drop the cheese wedges into a small saucepan, pressing down with the back of a fork to squash them. Add the marsala. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine and cook the sauce over a medium–high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Tip the sauce into the mushroom mixture and keep covered and warm while the pasta is cooking.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Be careful not to overcook it. This type of pasta only needs 4–5 minutes once it comes to a boil. Drain.
  • Pour the pasta over the mushroom sauce, toss, and serve immediately (fresh egg noodles absorb liquids very quickly). If you like you can add grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese.

Per serve
Energy: 1612 kJ/ 384 cals; Protein 14 g; Fat 5 g (includes 2 g saturated fat and 80 mg cholesterol); Carbs 53 g; Fibre 1 g; 538 mg sodium

Each month, GI News readers can eat well and save money with Diane Temple (co-author of a new book, Money Saving Meals). Diane shares her tips on cutting back on food bills and still enjoying fresh-tasting, easily prepared, seasonal, satisfying and delicious low GI meals that don’t compromise on quality and flavour one little bit.

Diane Temple

Mushroom minestrone with barley
Use any fresh mushrooms you like in any combination for this – white (button), crimini (Swiss brown), baby portabella or field (flat) mushrooms or any of the more exotic ones). If you only want to use one type of mushroom, I would suggest using cheap flat mushrooms for colour and flavour. The real aroma booster for this soup comes from the dried porcini. Don’t gasp. Although this may seem a pricy option, you only need a pinch or three to pack a punch. I don’t think this soup needs any garlic, but if you can’t live without it, sauté a chopped clove with the onion and other vegetables. Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 40 minutes.
Serves 4

10 g (1/3 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled or scrubbed and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed
6 cups hot water mixed with 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable stock powder
250 g (9 oz) flat mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
4 slices sourdough or grainy low GI bread, to serve


  • Place the porcini mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour over ½ cup of boiling water. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion, carrot and celery for 10 minutes on a low heat until soft, stirring occasionally. Add the porcini mushrooms and the soaking liquid, the barley and the chicken (or vegetable) stock, stir and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  • Cut the flat mushrooms in half then slice them crosswise and add them to the soup. Cover, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until the barley is tender to the bite then stir in parsley. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with bread.

Per serve (with 1 slice bread)
Energy: 1221 kJ/ 292 cals; Protein 9 g; Fat 11 g (includes 2 g saturated fat); Carbs 35 g; Fibre 7 g

Stocktake: Diane’s nifty & thrifty cooking tip of the month
Stock helps make great tasting soups, but it needn’t cost the earth, take hours to prepare, or come in a carton or can. If you do the maths, you’ll find that stock powders deliver the best value for money (Australian dollars quoted here).

  • 1 litre carton (4 cups) chicken stock about $3.10
  • 4 cups chicken stock made with stock cubes about 40 cents
  • 4 cups chicken stock made with Vegeta stock powder about 15 cents

You also have more control of the flavour – you can follow instructions (usually 1 teaspoon stock powder per cup of water) or use a bit more or less as you wish. Some brands are high on flavour, low on fillers and additives, salt reduced and gluten free. However, hold the salt shaker. Like other stock products on the supermarket shelf, stock powders can be on the salty side, so don’t add any extra. And keep in mind any salty toppings you are serving like Parmesan cheese.