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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Italian Pasta Classics - Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint & Pecorino

Mint, lemon and chili together are a very classic Italian flavor combination. They also happen to work deliciously together with seafood. This incredibly easy and company-worthy Pasta dish is an excellent choice if you are looking for an entree that is zesty, light and comforting all at once. At well under 30 minutes to prepare (if you get the Shrimp cleaned in advance) it's also doable on a weeknight. I know Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint and Pecorino is definitely going to be a regular on our summer menu rotation. Try it today and buon appetito! 

Photo: NK






































Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, Mint & Pecorino
Serves 3 as an entree (or 4 lightly)
Lightly Adapted from Food & Wine

Ingredients:
1/4 lightly toasted Pine Nuts
1/2 Pound Spaghetti 
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
2 Garlic Cloves, halved
1/2 Pound Large Wild Shrimp, shelled, cleaned and cut in thirds (buy them cleaned to save time!) 
Kosher Salt
Pepper
Zest of one Lemon
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Chopped Mint, plus small leaves set aside for garnish
1 Cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon jarred Calabrian Chili (we like Tutto Calabria) or substitute Crushed Red Pepper


Method: 
Prepare Pasta as directed in well-salted water. Reserve 1/2 Cup Pasta water, drain and set the Pasta aside. 

Meanwhile in a large skillet, warm 2 Tablespoons of the Olive Oil over medium low heat and add the Garlic Cloves. Cook, stirring until slightly golden, for about 5 minutes. Discard the Garlic. 

Sprinkle Shrimp with a little Salt and Pepper. Add them to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes until almost totally opaque. 

Add the Pasta, Water, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, 2/3 of the Pecorino Cheese, and the 2 remaining Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Cook, tossing constantly until the sauce thickens nicely, about 2 minutes. Season with a bit more salt and stir in the Calabrian Chili.

Plate and garnish with remaining Pecorino, toasted Pine Nuts and Mint Leaves. Enjoy! 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017 - Persian Style Herbed Rice

As long as I can remember, Easter has always been my absolute favorite holiday. For me, it's a day already so filled with hope, joy and a sense of renewal. It also coincides with spring, a season of rebirth itself, one signaling that summer is right around the corner. Last but not least, with the exception of delivering some baskets the Easter Bunny may have dropped off for the little ones, Easter isn't saddled with all the pressures gifting that plagued Christmas. No, in my mind, Easter is just perfect - right down to the menu.

This year, we went with the very traditional Lamb main. It was warm enough to grill outside and my husband cooked it perfectly. We adapted a great recipe for full racks (vs. sliced up chops from the rack) and drizzled it with a Greek lemon sauce called Ladolemono before serving. This would be a winner any time of year and it was so easy. Find the recipe HERE


Amazingly easy Lamb that we adapted Michael Psilakis' recipe by upping the grill time for a few full racks vs.
individual chops. Simple Ladolemono (a Greek Lemon Sauce) provides a little extra brightness to this rich dish. 

For a great side, you can't go wrong with our ilili Brussels Sprouts, a sweet, savory and tangy dish inspired by an amazing Lebanese restaurant in NYC by the same name. 

ilili Brussels Sprouts, Our version of the restaurant's recipe featured HERE on the blog

Finally, I adapted a much more technically complex (and phenomenal looking recipe for Sabzi Polo, Persian Herbed Rice served in a slightly molded form with a crispy crust on its outside) by playing off many of its flavors but presenting it more as a traditional (and far faster and easier) Rice dish. One day I will try the real thing but this meal was all about speed and ease despite the significant amount of time it took me to wash, chop and prep the many herbs that went into our meal! 
Persian Style Herbed Rice - A quick version of a much more involved side dish, Sabzi Polo. I adapted ours using many
of the same flavors and folding them simply in a basic rice dish. The recipe follows below.

I hope you enjoy the easy recipe below. And don't wait until next Easter to try it! 

Persian Style Herbed Rice

Recipe Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 8  

Ingredients:


2 Cups Basmati Rice
2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/2 Cup minced Dill
1/2 Cup minced Italian Parsley
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Water heated with a 1/4 teaspoon Spanish Saffron Threads

Method:

1. Prepare Basmati Rice as directed in Water, cooking until just the tiniest bit underdone.

2. As Rice cooks, heat Salted Butter in a small pan and saute minced Garlic a few minutes until soft and fragrant but not browned. Turn of the heat. 

3. In another small pot, heat the Saffron threads over medium heat in 1/3 Cup water until quite hot and water becomes deeply colored, about 5 minutes. Allow to sit. 

4. Fluff the Rice and carefully fold in all the Herbs, the Butter and Garlic, and toss gently adding the brewed Saffron liquid and distributing it throughout, reserving a small amount for serving. Follow by drizzling in 1/4 Olive Oil. Stir to incorporate. 

5. Finish by adding 1/2 teaspoon Salt and then combine.

6. Taste and adjust Salt as needed. 

7. To serve, remove to a serving bowl and drizzle with remaining brewed Saffron. Garnish with leftover herbs and enjoy!