Friday, August 9, 2013

Spaghetti with Tomato and Lemon

Rachael is the kind of eater who is 100% happy with spaghetti and "red sauce" every single day.  For lunch, and for dinner.  Maybe even for breakfast.  She orders it even when there are amazingly different items on menus, and sometimes even when it's not even on the menu at all (recently she saw that one dish had spaghetti and another dish had marinara sauce so she asked for them to be combined for her!)  So, whenever I ask her for meal ideas, she goes back to spaghetti and red sauce.  Sometimes when she is feeling extra bold, she may slightly stray from the usual, but really prefers to stick with spaghetti; and that is what happened with this meal.  I handed her two cookbooks one day when I was meal-planning for the week.  Since she is such a spaghetti girl, she usually doesn't give much input in my meals, and I was curious to see what she'd pick out.  Not too surprisingly, she handed me the book opened to this recipe: spaghetti with tomato and lemon.  Since it wasn't your average marinara sauce, I was intrigued.

Yes it is still spaghetti, and yes, there are tomatoes, but the similarities end there.  The tomatoes are blanched and peeled, then chopped; that is the extent of the tomato in this dish.  The pasta is cooked and then tossed with the tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic, a little olive oil, and - the secret ingredient - freshly-squeezed lemon juice (okay I guess it's not a secret ingredient since it's right there in the recipe's name, but you know what I mean).  One entire lemon, in fact.  You'd think it would taste really lemony with all that juice, but honestly my mom didn't even know there was lemon in there.  It didn't stand out, but melded in with the other flavors to make a really bright, fresh, delicious sauce.

This was a really quick and ridiculously easy pasta dish.  It is definitely a great alternative to a jar of red sauce on a busy weeknight; I'd say the whole thing is done and on the table in under 30 minutes.  And Rachael, Mom and I finished off the entire dish between dinner that night and lunch the next day - so I'd say they were all fans!


spaghetti with tomato and lemon
from Simply Delicious: Vegetarian by Carla Bardi
serves 4-6

2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 pound spaghetti
4 tablespoons finely chopped basil, plus extra leaves to garnish
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper

1)  Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Drain and peel them.  Chop coarsely.

2) Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain well and transfer to a large serving dish.

3) Add the tomatoes, basil, oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss well.  Garnish with basil and serve hot.

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