Pasta is Good for the Planet

May 2017  
Welcome to the new issue of The Truth About Pasta, the monthly newsletter from the International Pasta Organization. Each month's newsletter features a new and different topic -- all pointing to The Truth About Pasta. The truth is...pasta is healthy, sustainable, convenient, delicious, affordable, doesn't make you fat, and much, much more. Be sure to look for each new issue, with more topics and information.
A few days ago (April 22) we all celebrated the Earth Day 2017. Did you know that one of the most delicious ways to support a healthier planet is to put more pasta meals on your plate? We all agree that pasta is tasty and good for our health, but as we learn more about the costs and benefits of different food systems, we are also discovering that pasta is good for the planet.

Because meat and animal products can be a huge drain on natural resources, governments and organizations around the world are advising their members to adopt more plant-based meals, and scale back on meat. A colorful dish of pasta is one of the heartiest plant-based entrees, and can satisfy even the most devoted carnivores. And for people who are not willing to give up meat, pasta is a great way to take a small amount of meat and stretch it into a satisfying, mostly plant-based meal.

Experts Say:
Experts around the world express concern at how we're going to feed a growing population amidst unpredictable climate and weather patterns. Luckily, pasta meals are a delicious approach, because the carbon footprint of pasta is only 1 5.5 oz CO2eq/lb (34.44g CO2eq/kg), much lower than many other foods. (The carbon footprint of red meat, for example, is 359.3 oz CO2eq/lb.)
Scientific literature explains that pasta is the right food to feed the planet. From the field to the table, the environmental impact of the pasta is really low, as explained in this video by   Duncan Williamson , of WWF UK, interviewed in Milan on the occasion of World Pasta Day & Congress 2015.
Researchers estimate that it takes more than twenty times less water to make
1 calorie of food from grains (like the wheat used to make pasta) than it does to make 1 calorie of beef. In fact, even fruits and vegetables need 2 to 4 times as much water per calorie than grains.
At the   2016 World Pasta Day conference in Moscow,   Dr. Riccardo Valentini, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, explained that "pasta production is quite ecologically positive." Because of this, scientists around the world put forward a consensus statement declaring that "pasta is a simple plant based food, and has a low environmental impact."

Pasta is Good for the Environment  
Pasta is Good for the Environment

Did you Know:
How we cook pasta at home accounts for 38% of pasta's total carbon footprint. You can help pasta water boil faster and save energy by covering the pot with a lid, and waiting until after the water has boiled to add salt. Save water by trying a one pot pasta meal, or by using the leftover cooking water to make sauces or feed your plants.

Video of the Month   

Watch this video to learn more about why Pasta is Good for the Planet.  

Then, test your knowledge in this TED-Ed lesson.

Recipe of the Month

Penne with Arugula Pesto and Peas
1 pound penne pasta, preferably whole grain
6 ounces fresh arugula, washed and dried
½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 clove of garlic, peeled
⅓ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen peas, warmed
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. Fill a large stock pot with 6 quarts of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Turn heat to high and cover to bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, add arugula, walnuts, and garlic clove to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until all begins to break up, about 15 seconds or 15 1-second pulses. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula and add salt and pepper. Process 5 seconds and scrape down sides a second time. Process again, adding olive oil in a slow stream until fully incorporated. Remove pesto to a fresh bowl and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Cook pasta in stock pot until al dente and drain, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking liquid in the pot. Return pasta to the pot and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Add approximately ½ cup of the finished pesto to the pasta and cooking water in pot, stirring well to incorporate.
  4. Add cheese and peas and mix well. Serve with extra cheese if desired.
 Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information:
(using 1 TBSP pesto per serving): Calories: 400, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 224mg, Carbohydrates: 46g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 23g,

An Oldways recipe and photo.

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