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Low-fat penne recipe evokes Thai cuisine

Associated Press

Pasta is always popular, and in the summer, its ease of preparation and affinity for light, spicy flavoring make it especially welcome to cooks and diners.

This nutritious low-fat penne recipe can effectively spark the taste buds as either a refreshing first course or a carefree lunch. Its evocation of Thai cuisine is easily achieved with mint, peanuts, Thai pepper and hearts of palm, given tangy top notes with soy sauce and lemon. The recipe, which cooks up in minutes, is an original created by chef Antonio Cecconi, who operates a catering business from his hometown, Minneapolis.

Penne all'Orientale

16 ounces penne rigate

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3 tablespoons peanut oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

2 small Thai peppers, minced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves plus 1 tablespoon for garnish

1/2 cup diced cucumber (1/3-inch dice)

1/2 cup hearts of palm in brine, drained

2 tablespoons unsalted chopped peanuts

1 teaspoon lemon zest

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3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook mint, peppers and cilantro 3 minutes, stirring often. Add cucumber, hearts of palm, 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts and lemon zest. Pour in water, soy sauce and lemon juice. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Drain pasta and add to pan. Toss well and cook 3 minutes longer over high heat. Top with garnish of cilantro and peanuts. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 353 cal., 9 g fat, 12 g pro., 10 g digestible carbo., 0 mg chol., 367 mg sodium.

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