Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spaghetti al Limone & Week's Menu Plan

The other week just seemed like one big downpour of cold rain.  And this week? 80 degrees today! I believe we've skipped spring and went straight to summer (although I think it'll drop down to low 70s for the rest of the week).  And nothing seems like spring (or summer) more than bright yellow lemons.  And I just so happen to have 10+ lemons sitting in my kitchen that my co-worker picked from her tree for me (that's love right there).

So to celebrate spring and to use some of these lovely lemons, we had spaghetti al limone.  Basically, it was spaghetti with olive oil, a touch of cream and lots of lemon.  Very light...actually, probably a bit too light for my starving husband without any other kind of side dish (we did eat at close to 9 pm) but really refreshing on a summer-like day.  Also, I served it with a roasted artichoke which we just LOVED.  Instead of the traditional mayonnaise-like dipping sauce, you place a artichoke in foil, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, sliced garlic and salt and roast at 400 degrees for 45-75 minutes (depending on the size of the artichokes).  As you can tell, lots of lemon and olive oil in our life!

Also, by popular demand, I am bringing back the menu plan.  And, of course, by popular demand, I mean me -- I happen to like having each night's meal a click away. Most of these meals happen to be quick weeknight dinners which I always like having in my arsenal.

Spaghetti al Limone
Taken from: Cook's Illustrated, January 2011 issue
Serves 4 (I halved this recipe)

  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water (you can use regular water if you forget)
  • Salt
  • 3 lemons (approx. 1 tablespoon of zest and 1/4-1/2 cup of juice)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (you could decrease this amount if desired)
  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus additional for serving
  • Ground black pepper
  • Small handful fresh basil or arugula, chopped (approximately 1/8 cup)
  1. Bring water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente.
  2. While pasta is cooking, zest lemons until you have a little shy of a tablespoon of zest. Juice lemons — you’ll have anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice.
  3. Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water. Dry out your pot, then boil the olive oil, cream, zest and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water together for two minutes over high heat. Return pasta to pot and stir until coated. Add the cheese and 1/4 cup lemon juice and toss, toss, toss everything together. Add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, if you’d like your dish a little looser. Quickly taste a strand of pasta and see if you want to add the remaining lemon juice . Stir in basil or arugula and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately, drizzling individual portions with a bit of extra olive oil and sprinkling with extra Parmesan cheese.
Week's Menu Plan

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken Curry with broccoli
Wednesday: Stuffed Flank Steak with biscuits and roasted asparagus
Thursday: Spicy Asian Noodles 

Friday: Nachos 

Saturday: Pepita Crusted Mahi-mahi with polenta and baked spinach

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