In the GI News Kitchen

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American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI from her Italian kitchen. For more information, check out Johanna’s website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is


Seafood and mushroom lasagne
Lasagne is often the first choice for a special menu. I always use traditional Italian uncooked lasagne sheets. If you use pre-cooked ones, make extra white sauce for extra moisture.
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup shallots or onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
230g (8oz) mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ tbsp fresh thyme leaves
450g (1lb) seafood (I use 225g/½lb medium-size uncooked shrimps/prawns, cut into 6 pieces and 225g/½lb scallops, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups 2% milk
4 tbsp butter or margarine
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
16 lasagne strips uncooked

Seafood and mushroom lasagne

  • Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
  • In a large, heavy-based skillet or frying pan, add the olive oil, shallots and garlic and sauté lightly for 2 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and continue sautéing for 2 minutes. Add the parsley and thyme, mix all ingredients well, and cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add the shrimps. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add in the scallops. Continue cooking the mixture until all shrimp pieces have turned pink (approximately 2 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • In a small pot, pour the milk and heat gently until it slowly begins to bubble (approximately 7 minutes), removed from heat and cover the milk to keep it hot.
  • In a separate, small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter or margarine, add the flour and whisk briskly for 1–2 minutes, taking care to prevent browning. Gradually add the hot milk to the butter-flour mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, continuing to whisk. Continue until all the milk has been added and the mixture is smooth and thick enough to coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large pot with salted boiling water, cook the lasagne strips, 6 at a time, following the manufacturer’s instructions. However, limit cooking time to just 7 minutes. Remove the lasagne strips with a slotted spoon and place on a clean linen kitchen towel, taking care that they do not overlap. Continue until all the pasta is cooked.
  • Assemble the lasagne as follows: Place 2–3 tablespoons of the plain white (besciamella) sauce on the bottom of a lasagne pan (30 x 22 x 5cm deep/13 x 9 x 2¼in deep). Add the remaining sauce to the seafood-mushroom mixture. Place 4 lasagne strips on the bottom of the pan, allowing them to slightly overlap. Spread about ¾ cup of the mixture evenly over the pasta. Keep forming layers this way until all the pasta and sauce are used up. There will be 4 layers. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and place it on the upper rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving
Energy: 1560 kJ/ 370 cals; Protein 22 g; Fat 12 g (includes 3 g saturated fat and 59 mg cholesterol if using margarine); Carbs 46 g; Fibre 2 g

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Cauliflower pasta
You can ring the changes with this recipe simply by using a different cheese or herb for flavouring.
Serves 4

300g (10 oz) pasta such as penne (or your favourite shapes)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cauliflower (about 750g/1½lb), cut into florets
1 cup fresh (low GI of course) breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp chilli flakes (or more to taste)
2 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cauliflower pasta

  • Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water following the directions on the packet until al dente. Drain, but reserve a little of the pasta cooking water. Tip the pasta back into the saucepan and stir in 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Cover to keep warm. Meanwhile …
  • Cook the cauliflower until just tender (about 5 minutes), drain and set aside keeping warm. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large frying pan and sauté the breadcrumbs and garlic for about 1½–2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and crunchy, stirring constantly. Don’t let them catch and burn. Tip them into a small heatproof bowl.
  • Wipe the frying pan clean with a paper towel and heat the remaining oil. Sauté the chilli flakes, oregano and cauliflower for about 2–3 minutes on a medium heat until cauliflower starts to brown, stirring occasionally.
  • Tip the cauliflower mixture into the pasta along with the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley, adding a little of the reserved pasta water of you wish. Season with freshly ground black pepper, mix thoroughly and serve.

Per serving
Energy: 1910kJ/ 456 cals; Protein 15 g; Fat 17 g (includes 3g saturated fat and 6mg cholesterol); Carbs 55g Fibre 7g

Gabriel Gaté’s mother’s rabbit, carrot and prune casserole
This recipe is from Recipes My Mother Cooked – a new book of family recipes and mealtime stories that provides a heart-warming reminder of the timeless benefits of home cooking and sitting down together for dinner. We would love to hear about your mother’s favourite recipes.

Gabriel Gaté and his mother

‘My mother has always shared with me her love of good food. She is très gourmande! I grew up in the Loire Valley and my parents grew most of the vegetables, herbs and fruits that we needed. We also had a tiny vineyard and made our own wine. Both my Mum and Grandmother prepared the family meals, and from an early age encouraged us kids to contribute by asking us to do small jobs like peeling vegetables or making a salad dressing or mayonnaise. Some of my most memorable moments in the kitchen were helping to garnish the delicious home-made fruit tarts with raspberries, strawberries or apple. Rabbit was one of our favourite meats and during the winter months, wild rabbits were sometimes brought to us by relatives.’
Serves 4

1 rabbit, about 1.2kg (2lb) or rabbit pieces if you prefer
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 small brown onion
1½ tbsp plain flour
about 12 pitted prunes
1 cup red wine
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm thick slices
1 cup veal or chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • Cut the rabbit into seven pieces (the four legs, and the body, cut in three). You can also buy
  • Heat the oil on high heat, then brown the rabbit pieces on all sides. Add the thyme and stir well for 10 seconds. Add the chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Add the prunes and wine and bring to the boil. Add the carrots and stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and a lid and cook gently for 2 hours or until the rabbit is tender and the flesh falls easily away from the bone. Stir in the parsley and garlic just before serving.

Per serving
Energy: 2030kJ/ 485 cals; Protein 61 g; Fat 13 g (includes 4g saturated fat and 153mg cholesterol); Carbs 17g Fibre 4g

Recipes My Mother Cooked

Recipes My Mother Cooked is available in Australia HERE.