Edmonton Food Bank

Catelli Foods "Help Us Feed the Hope"

Posted on March 08, 2016

Top Edmonton Chef Among Canadian Culinary Superstars Behind New “Trendy Foods” Cookbook Launched in Support of Food Banks

Edmonton, Alberta – April 4, 2016 – Want to know what’s hot in food this summer? According to Chef Chris McMaster, Executive Chef of the Highlands Golf Club in Edmonton, a plant-based diet including lentils and chickpeas will be all the rage.

Chef McMaster is one of 15 top Canadian chefs who have come together to create mouth-watering family-style recipes that incorporate the season’s trending ingredients. The recipes are featured in a new digital cookbook, called Pasta to the Rescue: Hot Summer Dishes for Busy Families, sponsored by Catelli Foods in support of Canada’s food banks. Complete with professional pasta-making tips from the chefs, the cookbook is available for download free of charge at Catelli.ca or on the Catelli Facebook page.

The initiative is part of a national campaign by Catelli Foods called Help Us Feed the Hope. For every download or share of the cookbook or recipes, Catelli Foods will donate servings of pasta to Canada’s food banks. Visitors to the Catelli Foods website will also have the opportunity to enter a unique draw, with a chance to win one of three delicious pasta dinners cooked at home by Chef McMaster or one of the other participating chefs.

Chef McMaster’s recipe – a green lentil and curry vermicelli dish – includes what he calls nutrient-rich lentils, “a beneficial legume that’s popular because it contains fibre, protein and vitamins with virtually no fat,” he explained. “They’re great with soups, stews and over a bed of rice.”

The Help Us Feed the Hope campaign also features a coast-to-coast in-store promotion where Catelli Foods will donate a serving of Catelli® pasta to food banks nationally for every box of pasta purchased through to the end of June. Participating retailers are Federated Co-op stores in Western Canada.

“While people often think of the food bank during festive or holiday celebrations throughout the year, we are fortunate that our donors, such as Catelli Foods, are thinking beyond these times and continue to help people in need,” said Marjorie Bencz, CM, Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank. “As the troubling economic times continue, this pasta will help many in our community.”

The cookbook name, Pasta to the Rescue, has a double meaning, explained Sandra Kim, Director of Marketing for the Catelli® pasta brand. “With summer being the slowest time of year for food banks and with pasta being a quick and easy meal solution, Catelli Foods is coming to the rescue of both Canadian food banks and families from coast to coast,” she said.

“As Canada’s largest pasta manufacturer, Catelli Foods is pleased to give Canadians the opportunity to join the fight against hunger,” Kim added, explaining that about 850,000 Canadians are assisted by food banks each month, with more than a third being children and youth. “Hunger is a solvable problem and if we all do our part to help others in our community, together we can make a difference.”

The goal is to reach a donation of one million servings of pasta across Canada, Kim said. To get involved in the Help Us Feed the Hope campaign, visit Catelli.ca or the Catelli Facebook page, or purchase Catelli® pasta at participating retailers until late May.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the food trends and pasta-making tips from the cookbook’s chefs:

Summer 2016 food trends
• Plant-based diets (lentils, chickpeas)
• “Ugly vegetables” (cauliflower, celery root, jicama, rutabaga)
• Heritage legumes (calypso beans, pulses)
• Eastern Mediterranean flavours and Middle Eastern superfoods (cumin, coriander, lemons, flavoured hummus, tahini, pomegranate, eggplant)
• Bitter and sour flavours (kale, rapini, dark chocolate, Combawa lemon/lime)
• Local meats, humble cuts and charcuterie
• Ancient Indian spices with a modern twist
• Sustainably sourced fish products

Pasta-making tips from the pros
• Never put pasta in a pot that isn’t boiling first – the end result will be a gooey, overdone noodle.
• Boil pasta in plenty of water (six to eight litres of water for 500 grams of pasta). Avoid adding oil or butter to the pot – the water alone will keep the noodles separated.
• To have perfectly seasoned pasta, think salty like the sea: for every gallon of water, use one cup of salt, bring to a boil and cook your noodles.
• Slightly under cook pasta so that it is just cooked in your dish. Chefs refer to this as al dente.
• Never rinse your pasta after it’s cooked. That wonderful coating of starch that’s sitting on your heated pasta will enable your sauce to stick to the pasta.
• After draining, spread cooked pasta on a tray with parchment paper, and toss it with some olive oil.
• Keep leftover cooked pasta in the fridge for up to three days. When it’s time to reheat, place the pasta into boiling water for one minute.

Vermicelli with Green Lentil Patties and Curry Sauce

By Chef Chris McMaster

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 20 min
Servings: 4

Curry Sauce

½ cup (25 g) carrots, chopped small
½ cup (75 g) onions, chopped small
½ cup (50 g) celery, chopped small
2 tbsp (30 ml) oil
2 tbsp (15 g) yellow curry powder
2 tsp (10 g) garlic, crushed
1 tbsp (5 g) ginger root, grated
1 banana, ripe
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
⅔ cup (156 ml) tomato paste
1 ½ cup (375 ml) coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Sauté carrots, onions and celery in the oil on medium heat until well caramelized.
Step 2: Add curry powder, garlic and ginger. Sauté another 3 minutes.
Step 3: Add banana and cook until the banana breaks down.
Step 4: Add stock and simmer until reduced by two thirds.
Step 5: Add the tomato paste and coconut milk and simmer, stirring frequently.
Step 6: Put into blender and blend until smooth. Pass the sauce through a strainer and adjust seasoning.

Green Lentil Patties

½ cup (100 g) green lentils (dry)
2 tbsp (10 g) chopped onions
1 ¼ cups (250 g) chickpeas (from a can)
1 tbsp (15 ml) oil
1 egg
1 tsp (10 g) parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Boil lentils in 300 ml of water.
Step 2: Fry the onions in oil until caramelized. A little trick is to add some water just after the onions start to turn brown. This will stop them from burning, and you will get a golden colour.
Step 3: In a food processor, add the onions, chickpeas and ⅔ of the cooked lentils and pulse until smooth, but with some chunks left for texture. Add the egg and the rest of the lentils. Add parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Scoop out balls of the mix, press into patties and cook in a frying pan until golden brown, or bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350° F.

Green Lentil Patties with Curry Sauce:

1 pkg (375 g) Catelli Smart® Vermicelli
1 tbsp (15 ml) oil
16 cherry tomatoes
4 cups (1 L) curry sauce
8 green lentil patties


Step 1: Cook pasta and drain.
Step 2: In a large frying pan, add oil and quickly sauté the cherry tomatoes until they blister open. Set aside for later.
Step 3: Put the pasta into your favourite bowl, top with curry sauce, and add the green lentil patties and cherry tomatoes.
Step 4: Garnish with cilantro.