Monday, July 30, 2018

Spaghetti al Limone

The backyard lemons continue to be in full bloom. As in the last post, I am always looking for ways to use up the backyard bounty of lemons.

I got this recipe via email from my Milk Street subscription. What appealed to me were the simple ingredients, quick preparation time (hello weeknight meal!), bright flavors, and the use of a lemon.

With this recipe, I also appreciated the use of starchy pasta water along with a generous bit of butter to thicken the sauce instead of some recipes which call for cream. This leads to a cleaner, lighter, and brighter finish.

This Italian-based recipe comes from the Campania region of Italy where there is an abundance of lemon trees along the Amalfi Coast.

Spaghetti al Limone (serves 4)


Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon to start then adjust accordingly)
  • 10-12 ounces spaghetti or linguini
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (plus extra for the chef!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley (or basil leaves)
  • finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Prep lemon zest, herbs, and mince garlic. Preheat 2 quarts of salted water for pasta.
  • In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter (I also added some olive oil to the mixture). Add the minced garlic and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute
  • Add the white wine and simmer until reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Bring pasta water to a boil. Cook the pasta until 2-3 minutes short of the directions (pasta will continue to cook later in the skillet).
  • As pasta nears time, ladle of 1 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta
  • Return the skillet to medium high heat, stir in the reserved pasta water, and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta and stir to mix. 
  • Lower the heat until gently simmering.
  • Add 2 remaining tablespoons of butter,  a very generous grind of black pepper, the lemon juice and zest, and the parsley.
  • Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened and the extra water has evaporated. This is a key step. You don't want a watery sauce so simmer until the pasta glistens with starch and fat and the sauce has thickened.
  • Transfer to serving dishes and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish with a lemon slice or a sprig of fresh parsley or basil


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bee's Knees

With the weather warming up and no more rain in the foreseeable future, it's time to start exploring some warm weather cocktails. Add to that a lemon tree in the backyard bursting with lemons.

I was recently introduced to this drink through a friend who saw the recipe in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine. Like me, he has a lemon tree and is always looking for ways to use them up.

The drink is a nice balance of tart and sweetness with neither dominating the drink. You can use any type of gin. I opted to use a St. George Terroir Gin that was given to me by a friend.

The first step is to chill a glass in the fridge ahead of time so it's ready when it's cocktail time. The recipe calls for a coupe glass but I didn't have any of those and used a traditional martini glass instead.

Also, honey can be difficult to work with due to its viscosity. So make a honey syrup (not unlike simple syrup) with equal parts honey and water. Either use a stove top or microwave to mix the ingredients together. It will keep in the fridge for a while.

Bee's Knees (makes 1 cocktail)


  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) gin
  • 1 Tbsp. honey mixed with 1 Tbsp. warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake well. Strain the drink into a chilled glass. Make a garnish of lemon peel and add it to the drink and serve. 

Here's a video on how to make it:

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Just About Done!

The best Christmas gift we got was that our downstairs room remodel is basically done. The final inspection is scheduled for tomorrow. There are a few items on the punch list, but we have begun to move the furniture in. We even watched a football game on the TV with the fireplace below warming the room.

The shelves are mostly empty and there are additional details we want to add but it is finally a usable room. This whole project got started one year ago. Rain delayed the foundation work for months on end which then delayed the interior remodel. But we are finally happy with the finished product.





My New Year's resolution is to return this blog to the topic of food and cooking. I have new cookbooks and new ideas to share in 2018.