Monday, May 31, 2010

Menu 17: Fast Pasta Dinner

Linguine with Lemon Sauce

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1½ cups heavy cream
Grated zest from 3 lemons
Lemon juice from 3 lemons
1 pound fresh linguine
9 ounces dried thin spaghetti
3 tablespoons salt for the pasta water
1 teaspoon salt for the sauce or to taste
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or other hard cheese, freshly grated at the table

1. Put 6 quarts of water in a large pot and bring it to a boil.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the butter, cream, and lemon juice over low heat in a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on. As soon as the butter is melted, remove the skillet from the heat, cover, and set aside.
3. When the water is boiling, add 3 tablespoons salt and the pasta, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook until tender (fresh pasta won’t take long). Drain, leaving a few drops of water clinging to the pasta so that the sauce will adhere.

4. Transfer the pasta to the skillet, off the heat, and toss to blend. Add the salt, lemon zest, and toss once more. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. Transfer to warmed shallow bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately. Pass the hunk of cheese with a microplane or a cheese grater for you and your guests to grate as desired.

3-4 servings as a main dish
Adapted from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria

Simple Sautéed Fresh Spinach or Swiss Chard

Spinach for as many as you are serving, about ¼ pound per person, depending on the serving size
Swiss chard, about 1 bunch for 2 servings, stems removed, washed well, cut into ½-inch strips
Olive oil, about 1 tablespoon per serving

1. Place your spinach or chard in a non-aluminum pot big enough to hold your quantity of greens. Add 2 tablespoons of water and up to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Cover the pan and cook on low heat. The spinach will begin to wilt and give up its water. The chard will have the washing water still clinging to it; it will also begin to wilt but more slowly than the spinach. Stir to turn the uncooked spinach or chard toward the bottom surface of the pan. Keep stirring and cooking until all the spinach is cooked. With the chard, turn the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender.
3. Serve immediately. You can also hold it for a short while after cooking. Rewarm gently before serving.
I never find it necessary to add salt because of the high oxalic acid in the spinach.
To add garlic, mince or press several garlic cloves into the spinach or chard at the same time as you add the water and oil.

Makes as much as you desire or your pot will hold
My own devising

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