Tag Archives: lemons

Think Green, Think Fresh

Summer is officially here, and it’s hotter than the hubs of hell. Although I’m still obsessed with turnips, it’s time to move on to other vegetables. Typically when it is this hot I turn to lighter fare. The heat saps me so I want something that is quick and easy to make, and uses seasonal produce. I also like options that allow you to use what might be on hand. This pasta dish comes together quickly (than 20 minutes). Although I have used fresh spinach and sugar snap peas, you could just as easily use shelling peas, asparagus or cherry tomatoes. I’m finding a lot of uses for ricotta these days. I find it refreshing and lighter than a sauce using heavy cream. Spaghetti or linguine are you best pasta choices, but feel free to use what you have on hand. Remember when you add your vegetable to the pasta water, that you want to barely blanch them. I suggest 1 minute so the freshness of the vegetable comes through. The tartness of the lemon is the perfect contrast to the ricotta and vegetables. This recipe can be doubled if serving 4 or more people.

PASTA WITH SPRING VEGETABLES AND LEMON RICOTTA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces pasta, such as linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, sliced vertically in 3 pieces (it’s a nice way to expose the interior of the peas)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice, plus a few extra wedges to serve
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile make the ricotta sauce.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, olive oil, cheese, garlic, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasoning to you preference.
  3. In the last minute of the pasta’s cooking time, add spinach and snap peas to the pot. Stir and push the vegetables into the boiling water.
  4. Drain after 1 minute, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water (you will use this to thin you sauce if needed.)
  5. Return pasta and vegetables to the same pot, add the ricotta sauce and a few tablespoons of hot pasta water (you will not use all of it!). Stir well to evenly coat the pasta in sauce, you want a smooth and creamy texture.
  6. Serve immediately, drizzling extra-virgin olive oil over each bowl; add a sprinkle of extra cheese.

Serves 3

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“There is nothing that is comparable to it, or as satisfactory or as thrilling as gathering vegetables one has grown.” —Alice Toklas

Packing A Punch

There are days that start out well, then take an unexpected turn; like yesterday for example. I went to bed a little early and woke up abruptly when I heard a crash. I ran into the bathroom to find Val laying unconscious in a large pool of blood. I’m normally a steady Eddie in a crisis, but ever since Val’s brain surgery two years ago, our mantra has been don’t hit your head! I immediately called 911 to call an ambulance. As I followed the ambulance in my car I thought “Jeez she hasn’t been off our farm since March 9th because of Covid-19, and now we’re off to the emergency room!” After having a cat-scan it was determined that Val broke her nose and suffered a concussion. The good news was I brought her back home at 4:00 a.m. this morning. The lesson learned was don’t take a power slide on a tile floor. Floor 1, Val 0.

There are some punches that I can appreciate; like the first fresh garlic of the season. My go to recipe is Iberian Garlic Shrimp and boy does it pack a punch! Combine 2 heads of fresh garlic with roasted cherry tomatoes and sauteed shrimp and you have yourself a bowl full of yummy! Make sure you have a baguette to sop up all that goodness.

IBERIAN GARLIC SHRIMP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 heads fresh garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds large raw shrimp (13-15 count) shelled and de-veined
  • Juice and zest from one lemon
  • 16 ounces linguine, cooked in salt water according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded pecorino

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place cherry tomatoes on baking sheet lined with foil. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over them and roll them around with your hands. Sprinkle with flake, or sea salt. Roast in upper 1/3 of oven for 25-30 minutes.
  2. Place a large pot of salt water to boil. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, combine olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Saute garlic until softened, but not brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp and saute, tossing frequently until just done, about 2-3 minutes. If you think it needs additional time, take it off! It will continue to cook off heat.
  5. Place drained pasta in a large serving bowl. Top with shrimp and oil; then with roasted cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with lemon juice and zest, then chopped parsley and pecorino cheese.

Serves 4-6

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“Instead of giving up in the face of adversity, you should face it with a positive attitude and a smile.”  —Anurag Prakash Ray