Review: Great Light Pasta Dishes in Woodbury

Six pasta dishes offer healthy flavor.
Duck takes center stage in the colorful duck confit tagliatelle from Cravings Wine Bar & Grille.

Spring is upon us, and that means many of us have caught the health bug. Whether your vice is cycling, swimming or extreme ironing, you need to fuel your body for success. We have selected six light pasta options from around Woodbury which offer long-distance carbohydrates, as well as the fresh veggies and vitamins you need for sustained success. Six restaurants have jumped on board to help you lose those last couple of pounds. We have fresh recipes from Italy to New York, and everywhere in between. Eating out doesn’t have to be a dietary sacrifice. Indulge in any of these dishes, and enjoy a clean conscience after your plate is empty.

Gluten-Free Penne Pasta
Carmine’s Restaurant and Bar
Carmine’s Restaurant in Woodbury is like the loud uncle of the group. Boisterous, inviting, and full of energy, there’s something for every Italian food lover at Carmine’s. Their motto is “Come on in and Don’t Big Deal It.” On a gluten-free diet? Don’t Big Deal It. Carmine’s has cooked up a fresh penne with a one-two punch of Romano and Parmesan cheeses over gluten-free noodles, sprinkled with zesty Italian herbs ($12). Keep the health train rolling with a shrimp cocktail appetizer. Five jumbo shrimp are all you need for your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids, and a burst of protein ($10). If you feel like indulging, Carmine’s also offers gluten-free Alfredo pasta with cascading crowns of broccoli sautéed in Alfredo sauce, and garnished with basil ($14). Don’t Big Deal It, and eat the whole plate. 9900 Valley Creek Road; 651.730.4500.

Duck Confit Tagliatelle
Cravings Wine Bar & Grille
Being a duck in a pasta dish is a bit like waking up in a hotel. It’s familiar territory, but not the bed you’re used to. Cravings executive chef Rick Frazer swaddles the delicious duck in black pepper tagliatelle with peas, roasted tomatoes and fresh rosemary ($20). All of the flavors come together in a Tuaca cream reduction pairing sweet vanilla with tangy citrus from a classic liqueur supposedly created for Lorenzo de’ Medici. Frazer added this dish to the menu “on a whim, because I was craving it. It became one of our favorites.” Even the chefs can’t resist the “crave” of this delightful duck, and we wouldn’t choose any other dish to reawaken the possibilities of pasta. 755 Bielenberg Drive; 651.528.6828.

Rotini Pesto
Angelina’s Kitchen
Some of the most delicious dishes are often the most simple. Angelina’s Kitchen has a bit of history to its name. Chef Angela Verrastro’s family has its roots in the Bronx, so their classic recipes encourage a healthy lifestyle. New Yorkers can’t nap in the car after a heavy meal. Their on-your-feet routine demands proper nutrition. Verrastro’s classic Italian rotini pesto blends a homemade basil pesto with chopped mushrooms for a dose of B vitamins, and fresh spinach to round off your vitamin burst with A and K ($11.99, gluten-free version is $14.99). What to do with all of that extra energy? Take a stroll around Woodbury, and leave other heavy pasta dishes behind. 2170 Eagle Creek Lane; 651.998.0474.

Harvest Farfalle
Sunsets of Woodbury
Autumn might feel like a distant memory as we fully leap into spring. However, Sunsets is offering the very popular harvest farfalle, a delicious blend of spices and hearty fall vegetables to keep you full without racking up major calories. The bowtie farfalle is simmered in a roasted butternut squash cream sauce, with hints of nutmeg and pumpkin spice. Roasted chicken and braised spinach are added to this harvest brew, with delicious cranberries and candied pecans rounding out this dish ($14). Head chef Ryan Rose says “It has an even keel across the palate, balancing the combination of sweet and salty.” Fall might be over, but this dish is so delicious, you won’t want it to end. 700 Commons Drive; 651.735.1997.

Linguini Aglio Positano
Sole Mio Ristorante
Chef Angelo Montes was raised in Biella in Northern Italy, and is something of a pasta expert. This 2010 American Culinary Federation C.H.E.F.F.Y. of the Year opened his restaurant in Woodbury with the mission to “serve an experience.” My experience was the delicious linguini aglio positano. This gluten-free dish is tossed with sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach and Kalamata olives so fresh you could swear the Mediterranean breeze was blowing just outside the window. Tossed in a fresh aglio e oglio sauce, the garlic and oil add a rich flavor without overpowering the dish ($13). You would be remiss to eat this force of flavor without adding fresh shrimp for a spring taste which longs for the coast ($4). “Woodbury is the place to come to eat,” Montes says. Agreed. It doesn’t get more authentic than this. 1750 Weir Drive; 651.789.3220.

Wild Mushroom and Chicken Penne
Green Mill Restaurant and Bar
Spring brings out the “busy” in the best of us. The ice has melted and the cleaning, frolicking and guilt-free eating finally begin again. Green Mill’s wild mushroom and chicken penne is a creamy blend of portabella shrooms, spicy chicken, roma tomatoes and parmesan in a deluxe marsala alfredo sauce ($13.99). Vitamin D and antioxidants combined with the chicken’s protein offer the perfect fuel to complete all of your spring chores. The spinach tortellini seconds this motion with the delicious pasta, sundried tomatoes and a garden cream sauce ($14.99). 6025 Hudson Road; 651.735.1000.