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The Mediterranean Way; How to make Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

Really want to play a trick on your body's way of handling midlife and menopause? The Mediterranean Diet is a healthy, good tasting, satisfying way to trick your body into eating healthy foods that will overwhelm your taste buds.

The foundation of Mediterranean cooking is whole grains, lean protein including seafood and chicken, less lamb and beef, extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil, and lots of veggies. For flavor and health benefits, the recipes use lots of garlic, spices such as oregano, dill, parsley, and lemon.

Nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner stopped by to show us how to make one of her favorite dishes: Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe.

Dr. Bitner's favorite cookbook for Mediterranean cooking is Live to Eat by Michael Psilakis. He organizes everything by seven key items to keep on hand: Greek yogurt for sauces and dips, garden fresh veggies and fruits, sweet and sour peppers and onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic confit, tomato sauce, and garlic confit.

Mediterranean Cooking has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type II Diabetes.

Rigatoni with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe by Michael Psilakis

  • 2 cups whole wheat rigatoni or other shaped pasta
  • Olive or canola oil for pot
  • 8 small pepperoncini
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups broccoli rabe blanched and shocked
  • 1/2 cup garlic puree
  • 3/4 lb chicken sausage (3 links)
  • Kosher salt
  • Feta or parmesan cheese (optional, for sprinkling)


  1. Cook pasta, drain, and reserve 2 cups pasta cooking water
  2. slick pot with oil and heat add peppers and garlic until soft, add the reserved water, the broccoli, 1/4 cup garlic puree, then the sausage. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and water evaporated
  3. Add back the pasta and stir in the remaining garlic puree. season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of either cheese.

Learn more about the Mediterranean Diet at the upcoming Doctor Dialogue on May 30. There'll be conversations about how to have healthy aging in an unhealthy world which includes knowing which foods to eat and how to enjoy them to the fullest.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

Read more stories like this onĀ Dr. Bitner's Blog.

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