You can build your own pasta sauce with this great pasta base. Add a variety of optional ingredients to create your own unique dish.

1 1/2 cups pasta shells or penne pasta 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes (garlic and onion flavored) 15 ounces canned white beans, partially drained 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes salt and pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed 2 cups fresh broccoli florets or asparagus tips, blanched 2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice 1/2-pound cooked low fat Italian sausage 1/2-cup black or green olives 1/2 pound cooked shrimp or scallops

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, basil, and red pepper flakes.

Cook for 10 - 20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Add any other of the optional ingredients. Heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta to the sauce in the pan or serve sauce over the pasta on individual plates. Top with Parmesan cheese right before serving.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information per serving without the sausage or shrimp: Calories 415 Fat, gm. 7 Protein, gm. 20 Carb. gm. 68 Cholesterol, mg. 10 Fiber, gm. 10