Creamy Pumpkin, Ricotta & Tuna Pasta

The number one mistake I think people make when they decide to start eating healthy is telling themselves they can't eat high carbohydrate foods like pasta, bread, rice etc. Choosing these foods in their whole grain state can absolutely have a place in your diet, it's all about how much of them are on our plates and making sure it doesn't replace other macronutrients and food groups like protein, healthy fats and of course veggies! 

The key to this, is making sure half of what's on your plate is vegetables. For this recipe I have packed in as much kale, tomatoes and asparagus as possible. The pasta serving ends up being about 1/2 cup per person and then you get your protein from the ricotta, tuna and walnuts and also healthy fats from the walnuts and to a lesser extent, tuna. The creamy pumpkin sauce, fresh basil and sprinkle of parmesan make you feel like your indulging in a big bowl of delicious pasta but I can promise you won't be feeling bloated and wanting a nap after this kind of pasta meal!  

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups wholemeal wheat/quinoa (GF) penne pasta
1 cup butternut pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup full fat ricotta
4 x stalks kale, leaves sliced
1 large bunch asparagus, cut into 2cm lengths
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 x small or 1 x large cans of tuna in spring water (of fresh grilled tuna)
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 handful of basil, chopped  
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Directions

Steam the pumpkin until very tender and place in a food processor.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and add the kale and asparagus on top to steam for the last 3 minutes.  Meanwhile blitz the pumpkin with the ricotta and a pinch of salt and pepper and then add water, if needed, until it reaches a thick sauce consistency.

Drain the pasta, add back to the pot with the kale, asparagus, tomatoes, tuna and basil and then stir through the sauce and walnuts. Top with parmesan and an extra sprig of basil.