This is another one of the oldie but goodie Weight Watcher recipes from the “most expensive cookbook on the planet.” Built around a cooking technique call sopa seca or “dry soup,” vermicelli is cooked right in the pot along with tomatoes and other ingredients. By the time the pasta is cooked, the liquid has been absorbed and the flavors have melded.
I’ve simplified the recipe which originally called for ground beef. I don’t eat of lot of beef but I’ve very fond of ground turkey and it works great in this recipe. Flats of ground turkey come in 20 oz. portions so half the package is perfect. I’ve also just used a whole one-pound tube of frozen ground turkey (Jennie O brand) with equal success.
I found these cute little 7 oz bags of cut pasta in the Latin Foods aisle of my local grocery store, too. Open the bag and boom! Done, easy! Now that I’m relaxed about portions I realize an extra ounce of pasta split between four servings is not a big deal.
Be sure to use a big, deep skillet or dutch oven for this recipe. It makes four hearty servings but requires a lot of room to stir.
- 10 to 16 oz lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 – 2 tbls olive oil
- 1 medium diced green pepper
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 ½ cup water
- 6 oz vermicelli, broken into thirds
- Grated cheese
- In large frying pan heat up oil until hot but not smoking. Add onions, green pepper and garlic. Saute on medium high heat until veggies are soft. Add in meat and spices and cook, stirring frequently until the meat loses its pink color. A Pampered Chef Mix N Chop is perfect for this but a regular spatula will do.
- Pour undrained tomatoes into a large measuring cup. Add enough water to bring the total amount to four cups.
- Stir in the tomato mixture and pasta. Bring to a boil. Add vermicelli, increase heat to high, and return to a boil, tossing the mixture with 2 spoons to separate the strands.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is reduced to a sauce, about 15-20 minutes.
- Divide the pasta into four servings and top with grated cheese before serving.
Nutritional information – values are approximate per serving (assumes 10 oz ground turkey and only 6 oz of pasta…not the cute little 7 oz bag):
Calories 350.4 Total Fat 9.3 g Cholesterol 50.0 mg Sodium 430.3 mg Potassium 134.3 mg Total Carbohydrate 46.3 g Protein 21.4 g
Inspiration: Weight Watchers Smart Choice Recipe Collection – 1994