If I had to choose my Last Supper, it would come right off an Italian menu. The savory flavors of tomatoes, garlic, cheese, basil, and oregano have always warmed my inner soul in a way no other cuisine ever has. So, on occasion, I will order my absolute favorites, and hope my dining partner that evening is willing to split the meal (and calories) with me. Or I will make a deal with myself: eat exactly half, and then summon the waiter really quickly to take the other half away, before I change my mind. But on most occasions, since I do eat out a lot, I try to eat more sensibly, and here is my list:
- Mussels or Clams Marinara – Even though this is usually on the appetizer list, I will usually order these as an entrée if possible. Portions are usually large, and the pulling the mussels or clams from the shells takes time, keeps me busy, and away from the bread basket.
- Marinara or tomato sauce rarely has much fat, so this as a sauce on any plain pasta such as linguine or penne, as opposed to a stuffed pasta like manicotti or tortellini – is a wiser option.
- Green Salad, without the croutons or added cheese, low-fat dressing on the side, or bring your own, or ask for oil and vinegar on the side. Vinegar has practically no calories and if it is good quality vinegar, sometimes that is all a salad requires. Oil, at 100 calories per tablespoon, should be measured carefully.
- Minestrone soup usually vegetable based and loaded with good vegetables and some beans. Go for the cup instead of the bowl.
- Any plain grilled fish or even steak, plenty of good tomato sauce on the side.
One slice of typical pizzeria-style pizza usually measures up to about 400 calories. One slice and a salad on the side is a fine meal.
- Alfredo or Carbonara anything – this means sauce made with heavy cream, as are “pink” sauces, such as vodka sauce.
- Parmigiana or Parmesan dishes are generally breaded, deep-fat fried, and baked under heaps of high-fat cheese, even the innocent-sounding eggplant Parmesan or vegetable lasagna.
- Fried calamari, fried zucchini, mozzarella sticks, stuffed clams, stuffed mushrooms or anything “stuffed” “fried” or “crispy.”
AND FOR DESSERT… if it is an absolute must:
Gelato or a nice cappuccino or one bite of someone else’s dessert!