Monday, May 21, 2007

Feed Me: A Pasta Recipe That Isn't Rocket Science.

I've always been a sucker for cooking shows. So of course I'm a huge fan of The Food Network, that 24-hour orgy of food preparation, home to edge-of-your-seat entertainment such as "Gingerbread Challenge" and "Calorie Commando." One of my favorite things to do is to watch it while I'm walking on my treadmill, since nothing says health and fitness like watching Mario Batali cook up a big batch of fettuccine alfredo using twelve pounds of butter and a barrel of heavy cream.

Although it's not my favorite show on the network, I often watch Ina Garten on The Barefoot Contessa - there's something so comforting about her manner, and I always feel like she's the type of person you could always call when you're having a bad day and she would show up at your doorstep with a huge rib roast, a tub of mashed potatoes and a homemade cake. This is so different from what actually happens when I call any of my friends to tell them I've had a bad day, as they're more likely to yell, "Again?" before hanging up the phone and then changing their number.

While I'm not a big fan of the way shows try and hawk their own cookbooks and products, I did succumb to buying Barefoot Contessa Family Style, and I'm glad I did. The recipes and ingredients are simple and straightforward - not a single reference to fermented hazelnut oil or candied pheasant glands. Everything I've made from this book has been fairly easy to make and came out great. My favorite recipe is her Lemon Pasta with Shrimp which I've make frequently, with and without the shrimp. I've made it as a main dish, and as a side dish, before getting on the treadmill and after a grueling twelve-minute workout. And sure it's a little heavy on the butter, but if you promise yourself you'll spend the rest of the week drinking wheatgrass juice like I do, it doesn't feel so bad. Here it is:

Lemon Pasta With Shrimp Scampi
Serves 6

Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds linguine
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (around 9 cloves)
2 pounds large shrimp (about 32 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

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David B. said...

Sounds great, I'm going to try it!

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