Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta for Your Man

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Osteoporosis is a condition overwhelmingly associated with women. That's because of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 8 million are female. That also means, however, that 2 million are men. And, unfortunately, another 12 million men are at risk for developing it.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the most common risk factors for osteoporosis in men include:
  • prolonged exposure to certain medications, such as steroids to treat asthma or arthritis
  • chronic disease that affects the kidneys, lungs, and intestines, altering hormone levels
  • undiagnosed low levels of testosterone
  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • low calcium intake
  • lack of physical activity
  • bone loss associated with older age
  • heredity
  • race--though men from all ethnic groups may develop osteoporosis, white men appear to have the greatest risk for it
Since osteoporosis afflicts mostly women, it remains under diagnosed in men. If you (or a special guy in your life) has some of the above risk factors, then discuss them with your doctor. Other concerning signs of osteoporosis in men include:
  • loss in height
  • change in posture
  • pain in the lower back
  • sudden bone fractures or breaks
Like women, men who are diagnosed with osteoporosis should:
  • Get enough calcium every day. The NOF recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for men under age 50 and 1,200 mg for men over 50.
  • Get an adequate amount of vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium. Men under the ago of 50 need 400-800 IU of vitamin D each day, while men over 50 need 800-100o IU.
  • Engage in regular physical activity that includes a combination of weight bearing exercise and resistance training.
And, of course, eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D. I make sardine dishes for Jeff because he loves them, and because I love him and want him to have healthy bones. One (3.75 ounce) can of sardines is about 150 calories and 20 grams of protein; it provides 10% of the daily recommended allowance of iron and a whopping 20% of calcium. You can buy imported Italian sardines in olive oil (which are more expensive but much better according to Jeff) or sardines in spring water.

Then whip up this pasta dish in under 15 minutes. The bold flavors of sardines and broccoli rabe are tempered with sweet raisins and zesty lemon.

And don't forgot to check out Nuria's Marinated Sardines over at Spanish Recipes. I never knew sardines could look so pretty.

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta
Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons raisins (soaked in a little white wine)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cans sardines in olive oil, drained
2 teaspoons lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 ounces rigatoni

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 1 ½-2 minutes; drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Shocking the rabe will maintain its vivid green color and stop it from cooking.

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with some dry white wine. Let them soak about 10 minutes to become infused with the flavor of the wine.

Crush the pine nuts. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat add the pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Shake pan in a back-and-forth motion until they are are golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain the broccoli rabe, pat dry, and add to the skillet.
Meanwhile, drain the sardines and remove the backbones. Using a fork, break sardines
into small pieces and add to the skillet. Add the drained raisins, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in salted water according to directions, being sure to keep it al dente. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe mixture, and toss in the toasted bread crumb mixture and fresh parsley.

Plate the pasta, finishing it off with a drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil.

You might also like these guy-friendly, high-calcium meals:

Breakfast Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle-Mayo

New England Clam Chowder

Spinach, Nutmeg, and Ricotta Pie

Shrimp Tacos with Citrus-Avocado Salsa

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