Pasta a la Limone

I came across this pasta recipe on America’s Test Kitchen, which is one of Joanie and my FAVORITE websites!  I watched the video and could almost taste the lemon and basil.  My mouth was watering, I had to make it.  I was slightly skeptical that it wouldn’t turn out very flavorful because it uses pasta water and a splash of heavy cream for the main ingredients in the sauce.  Boy was I wrong!  This pasta is a really good summer time dish.  It’s very light and refreshing, tasting of lemony tartness and fresh basil!  I’m in LOVE!!  I usually tweak a few things in recipes to suit to my taste, for this one I doubled the parmesan and added a little more lemon zest.  If you are preparing this recipe for less than 6 people you might want to cut recipe in half, unless you want leftovers.  The recipe says it feeds 4-6.  Using a whole pound of pasta, this recipe feeds at least 8, especially if you’re using it as a side dish.

This makes a quick and easy weeknight meal, taking only minutes more than the time it takes to cook the pasta.  Buon appetito!!  ~Janna

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Ingredients:

Table salt
1 Lb spaghetti
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 heavy cream
2 Tsp finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 of fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 Oz finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
ground black pepper
2 Tbs finely shredded fresh basil leaves

Method:

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a dutch oven or large pot.  Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water, cook stirring frequently until cooked al dente, about 7 minutes.  Reserve 1 3/4 cups of the pasta water, drain pasta and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the now empty pot over medium heat until oil is shimmering and hot.  Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes.
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Whisk 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta water and cream into pot.  Bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove pot from heat, return pasta to pot and stir until coated.  Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Cover and let pasta stand for 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 pasta water if necessary.
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Stir in fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve, drizzling individual portion with oil, a sprinkle of cheese and a bit more basil.Picture3

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Easy Cheesy Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Janna:  A few weeks ago, one of Joanie and my good friends gave us a challenge.  She said she has trouble coming up with meals with things that she has on hand, without having to run to the store for ingredients, and without an actual recipe to follow.  She challenged us to look in our cupboards and come up with a meal, just from what we already have.  So Caty, here they are, our “straight from the cupboard” meals.  Hope you enjoy and get inspired, i know I was inspired and may even do this regularly!

I chose to go the Italian route, A,  because EVERYONE has pasta in their cupboards (if you don’t, it’s about $1.00 a pound), and B, Italian food is so easy and simple, and it’s BETTER when you keep it simple, so here it goes.  While I was putting this together I kept thinking of other things I could add (but didn’t have on hand)  So I will go ahead and list those things as well, so you have a wide range of ingredients to work with, or maybe it’ll inspire you to come up with your own additions!

Ingredients:

1 lb pasta, any kind will do, chunky sauce works better with short, shaped pasta like a shell, corkscrew or bowtie, but I used linguine because that’s what I had on hand.

*You could also add meat to this dish if you wanted, hamburger, italian sausage, chorizo, ground turkey, ground chicken.  I’d use about ½ lb of meat in this dish.

½ onion, chopped  (you can also add green, red or yellow bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, you could use stewed if you don’t have diced, just give them a rough chop.  You can use the diced tomatoes that have herbs already added.
⅓ of a 4oz can of fire roasted diced green chilies.  (More if you like it spicier).
2 garlic cloves minced (you can use garlic powder, about ½ tsp or to taste.
½ of a 15 oz can of black olives, roughly chopped
¼-1/2 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 Tbs Olive oil
Parmesan or feta cheese

Directions:
In a medium saucepan saute the onions (and other veggies if you’re using them) in the olive oil for a few minutes until tender.  If you’re using meat, brown the meat with the onion (and veggies), drain fat out and return to pan.  In the meantime, cook pasta according to package directions.  I cook 1-2 minutes less for al dente.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chilis, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes until hot and steamy.  Adjust salt, pepper and  green chilies to your liking.

Plate some of your cooked pasta and scoop some of the sauce over it.  Shred some fresh mozzarella, parmesan or Feta cheese over top, enjoy!

Makes about 6 servings, serve with a tossed salad and a glass of red wine and enjoy!