Rocco DiSpirito's guilt-free Italian favorites

Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, author of the new book "Now Eat This," whips up these delicious Italian dishes for under 350 calories.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients

Salt

8 ounces whole wheat fettuccine, such as Hodgson Mill

2 cups chopped leeks (white and lightest green parts only), 1 to 2 leeks

1 cup skim milk

1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1 bunch medium asparagus, about 1 pound, peeled from tip to stem with a vegetable peeler until you get thin ribbons

Butter-flavored cooking spray

Freshly ground black pepper

2 gratings from a whole nutmeg

Method

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons salt.

Add the fettuccine and cook according to the package instructions for al dente minus 1 minute; set the timer.

Place the leeks and the milk in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic, and microwave on high until the leeks are tender, about 6 minutes.

Pour the leek and milk mixture into a blender and add three-quarters of the Parmigiano.

Process until very smooth.

Scrape the contents of the blender into a large nonstick skillet, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer.

Once the timer goes off for the pasta, add the asparagus.

Cook for 30 seconds, then drain and add the pasta and asparagus to the pan.

Cook until the sauce sticks to the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes.

Coat with 16 pumps of butter spray and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Divide the pasta among 4 plates and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano.

Lasagna Bolognese

Ingredients

½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces 96% lean ground beef, such as Laura's Lean

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

20 leaves fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

2½ cups no fat, sodium, or sugar added

Chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi

1 large zucchini, about 1 pound, cut lengthwise into ribbons 1/8 inch thick to make 8 ounces of ribbons

1 cup skim milk

1½ tablespoons arrowroot

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

4 ounces organic whole wheat, no boil lasagna, about 6½ sheets, such as Delallo

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper, and once the oil is smoking, add the beef to the skillet.

Brown the beef on one side about 2 minutes, then break it up with a spoon and add half the torn basil, followed by the chopped tomatoes.

Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook about 1 minute.

Set aside.

Stack the zucchini in 4 equal piles, place each pile on a microwave-safe plate, and cook in the microwave on high for 1 minute.

Flip each stack over and cook on high for another minute, then set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of milk to a small bowl and mix with the arrowroot.

Add the remaining milk to a small saucepot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the arrowroot mixture and whisk until thickened, about 30 seconds.

the 10.Turn off the heat and add all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano and whisk into the sauce until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Spoon a thin layer of Bolognese sauce onto the bottom of a microwave-safe 8 x 8 x 4-inch dish, then place two lasagna sheets over the top, pressing down on the sheets until they break and naturally fit in the bottom of the dish.

Add a thin layer of Bolognese, then drizzle a thin layer of the white sauce on top.

Place a third of the remaining basil leaves over that layer, then add a layer of zucchini ribbons on top.

Season with salt and pepper.

Repeat the previous layering sequence.

Fill in any bare spots with half a sheet of pasta, breaking into pieces where necessary.

Place the last 2 remaining lasagna sheets on top and spoon the remaining Bolognese over that; then cover with a final layer of zucchini and basil leaves.

Season with salt and pepper.

Top with the remaining white sauce, then sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano over the entire surface of the lasagna.

Tightly cover the dish with plastic wrap and cook in the microwave on high until the pasta is cooked, about 15 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and broil until brown, about 1 minute.

Remove the lasagna from the broiler and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 equal pieces.

Cannoli

Ingredients

1 cup fat-free ricotta

1 tablespoon fresh egg white

1½ tablespoons thick raw honey

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 packets stevia, such as Stevia In The Raw

½ teaspoon Marsala extract (found at gourmet shops such as Williams-Sonoma)

2 tablespoons mascarpone

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and gently press once or twice with a spoon to release the water, then let the rest of the water drip out (this takes only about 2 minutes).

Whisk together the egg white and honey in a large bowl. Add the flour, flaxseed, and cocoa powder and whisk to fully incorporate and form a thick paste. Separate the paste in the bowl into 4 equal mounds.

Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat and, using a small offset spatula, spread one of the mounds of paste into a circle that is 5 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. (Find a plastic lid and trace out a 5-inch circle; cut it out so the lid forms a mold.)

Repeat with the remaining 3 mounds.

Place in the oven and bake until the cookies start to become visibly dry, about 5 minutes.

Flip each cookie and bake until the other side is dry, 6 to 8 minutes.

One at a time, remove the cooked shells and bend them over the handle of a whisk to form a perfect cylinder, with one side overlapping the other by ½ inch.

Press the touching sides together on a work surface with a wooden spoon to seal the cylinder. Press each seal for 5 seconds while the cookie gets crisp, then place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with each cookie.

Combine the Stevia and the Marsala extract in a medium bowl and stir to dissolve the Stevia.

Stir in the mascarpone and ricotta cheeses.

Place the mixture in a piping bag with no tip and pipe to fill each cannolo shell.

Dust with the cinnamon.