A pasta side dish? Sign me up! One that will cost me another 20 minutes on the treadmill the next day? I’ll pass…. But I really wanted to try Paula’s Lemon Linguine that I had to come up with something so I can see a Southerner’s take on Italian without having to wake up 20 minutes earlier the next day.

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LEMON LINGUINEAnthony J. Caruso

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-ounce) package 100% whole wheat linguine

1/4 cup minced onion or shallot

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon light butter spread (recommended: Smart Balance Light)

1 (8-ounce) carton reduced fat sour cream

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, divided

1 tablespoon skim milk

1 3/4 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)

1 whole lemon, zested

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

DIRECTIONS

Cook linguini according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

In a skillet, melt butter spread over medium heat. Add onion or shallots and garlic to butter, stirring constantly until tender, not brown. Stir in sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, milk, lemon-pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over linguini. Toss gently, adding chopped parsley, chives, and remaining Parmesan. Serve warm.

Here’s the skinny:

I substituted 100% whole wheat pasta for the white pasta Paula uses. You get so much protein and fiber, as well as “good for you” carbs, instead of empty carbs in regular pasta. Make sure you get 100% whole wheat. Anything else is a blend which still isn’t as good for you as the 100% alternative.

I used a light butter spread instead of butter. Butter has 4 times the saturated fat as the light butter spread I use. It cooks fine and tastes delicious – all without clogging your arteries!

I also used reduced fat sour cream instead of regular sour cream. I didn’t use fat free because the sour cream is the base of the sauce. Fat free sour cream’s consistency isn’t quite right to be the main highlight of a dish. But you are still saving yourself a lot of fat – and guilt. ;)