Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Low Iodine: Pasta!

One of the few bright spots of the low iodine diet is that it permits pasta within certain parameters. Fresh pasta with abundant egg yolks is, of course, off limits. Dried pasta containing nothing but semolina & durum flour is just fine, and makes a perfect backdrop for all sorts of fantastic flavors.

If you have the good fortune to be on the low-iodine diet during the summer, then get yourself to the local farmer's market for some field-grown tomatoes and fresh basil. A mix of tomato varieties like Purple Cherokee, Lemon Boy, Green Zebra and cherry tomatoes like Sungold make a vibrant-looking and -tasting dish. Cook up some orrichiette and toss it with this easy no-cook tomato sauce:

Italian Salsa Cruda

2 lb. ripe field grown tomatoes, cored and diced (about 4 cups) - do not seed the tomatoes!
1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. Red wine vinegar
1/3 cup roughly chopped basil
1 T. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
1 lb. dried orrichiette, rigatoni, or other short ridged pasta that will hold the sauce.

Kosher salt for the finished dish. Adding salt to the sauce early will draw the moisture from the tomatoes and adversely affect the texture.

Combine all ingredients except salt in a large bowl and let stand for up to three hours to let the flavors combine. Taste and add more pepper if desired. Toss with cooked pasta. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.


Another summer favorite pasta is this herbed, lemony, garlicky pasta salad recipe by Joanne Weir, originally published in Fine Cooking magazine years ago. Perfectly low-iodine friendly and flavorful, this salad needs nothing more than a chilled glass of white wine to accompany it.

Herbed Farfalle with Grilled Chicken

Kosher salt
12 oz. dried farfalle pasta
10 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total)
Freshly ground black pepper
7 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, torn
1 cup packed fresh arugula (tough stems removed)
6 lemon wedges

In a large pot, bring 6 qt. water and 2 Tbs. salt to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 min. Drain the pasta and toss it immediately with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Let the pasta cool completely in the refrigerator.

Heat a cast-iron ridged grill pan or an outdoor grill. Brush the chicken breasts with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Grill the chicken breasts until golden on one side, 4 to 5 min. Turn the breasts, season with salt and pepper, and continue to grill until golden and cooked through, another 6 to 8 min. Let the chicken cool and then cut it on the diagonal into thin strips. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 8 Tbs. olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the farfalle, sliced chicken, parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, and arugula and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put the salad into a serving bowl and serve immediately, garnished with the lemon wedges.