pasta

Linguini with Asparagus & Hazelnuts

I love the simplicity of this recipe and how it allows asparagus, fresh from the farm share, stand out in harmony with a buttery and herbacious lemon sauce. Feel free to use whatever type of pasta you'd like, but I think the wide strands of linguini are the best vehicle for this particular recipe. If you are feeling more daring, I'd suggest making your own pasta. The dough itself, is quite easy (even easier with a food processor, but you can do by hand). The only thing  you really need is a pasta machine, to roll out the thin sheets of dough. I suggest looking at a Homegoods or Marshalls. I've seen them there for under $30 (its an investment that will last a life time).

I have somewhat struggled with dough recipes in the past - especially when I play around with the type of flour I use. I specifically had a bag of whole wheat flour, so I ran a search on the interent for a recipe calling for the same. My first hit was for a recipe by Lidia Bastianch. I didn't need to look any further; Lidia is a goddess in the Italian culinary world. If there was anyone who had a good recipe for pasta, then she did.

I had just walked in the door on Tuesday, after picking up the farm share. I ran to my Kitchen Aid mixer, pulled the recipe up on my iPhone and started measuring out my ingredients. As I opened my whole wheat flour I was pleasantly surprised to see my 1-cup measuring cup that had been missing for several months. It was a good omen. Flour, salt, olive oil and egg. How much simpler does it get? In just a few minutes I had pasta dough ready to work with.

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I wanted the recipe to be simple and focused on one key ingredient: the asparagus.

Before cooking my pasta (which would only take about 2 minutes being so fresh), I used the pot of boiling water to steam half of the bunch of asparagus for a few minutes, and then put in an ice bath to retain its bright green color.

For the sauce, I started melting 2 tablespoons of organic pastuered salted butter in a saute pan. I added sage and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add some brightness to the dish. Meanwhile, I took a small handful of hazelnuts and toasted them in the oven. It wasnt a necessary step, but I like the deeper flavor it adds than just using raw nuts.

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I mentioned this was a simple recipe, but you have to be a good multi-tasker as everything happens so quickly. Hazelnuts were toasting, butter was melting, and the aspargus was steamed and ready. All there was left to do was through in my fresh linguini into a bot of boiling salted water.

Two minutes later, I pulled the pasta, add added to the pan of melted butter along with diced asparagus. Tossing the pasta in the pan of sauce allows the pasta to continue to absorb some of the flavors, while warming up the asparagus that was cooked in advance.

I split the pasta over two bowls and topped with fresh cracked pepper, shaved pecorio romano, and chopped toasted hazelnuts for myself.

Ingredients:

  • Linguini (measured for 2 servings)
  • A half bunch of asparagus
  • 2 tbs of salted butter
  • tsp of fresh sage or other herbs (optional)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 -3 tbs of hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shaved or 1/8 cup of grated pecorino romano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Fill up pot used for cooking pasta, halfway. Using a steaming basket, steam asparagus for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and put in ice bath to retain bright green color.
  • Add more water to pot, full enough to cook pasta.

Garlic & Herb Shrimp

Maintaining a food blog is a lot of work, especially on top of having a busy job. There is quite a lot going on at work, and even though most of the Irish-inspired recipes I planned out for this week are rather simple, it still takes some time to prep everything and have daylight to shoot it all.

Thankfully I had a really quick and easy recipe for Garlic & Herb Dublin Bay Prawn planned out to recreate.

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Fishing towns are scattered all throughout Ireland's coast so I'm dedicating several of this weeks posts to seafood. Dublin Bay Prawns, also commonly known as langoustine, are very similar to look and taste to shrimp.

Prawn and shrimp are in the same zoological class but prawn are generally a bit larger. For whatever reason prawn/langoustine are not common in the states. In fact, I think the first time I had seen a langoustine was when my husband and I were honeymooning in Portugal.

Short story long, instead of using Dublin Bay prawn, I picked up a half pound of shrimp.

For the best flavor I could have purchased them with shells (they flavor the sauce), but to keep it simple I grabbed the peeled and deveined.

So here is what you need:

Ingredients: 1/2 pound of shrimp 2 tbs butter (Kerrygold is a great choice) 3-4 tbs of fresh chopped parsley or other fresh herbs 3 cloves of garlic minced Juice from half a lemon 1/4 cup dry white wine Angel hair pasta (enough for 2)

How it all comes together The longest thing you need to wait for is the water to boil for the pasta. Other than that, be ready to move quick.

While that pot of water is coming to a boil, start prepping your shrimp. Rinse off and pat dry.

In a bowl mix the lemon juice, minced garlic, herbs and the 2 tbs of soften butter in a bowl.

Add the shrimp and massage the butter/herb mixture into the shrimp. Do not leave in this marinade for longer than 30 minutes because the acidity of the lemon will cook the shrimp before it even hits a sauté pan.

When the water looks close to a boil, get a sauté pan set over medium heat.

(Here is where you need to move fast).

Drop the shrimp with marinate into pan and start to sauté. They only need 1-2 minutes per side.

Now drop your angel hair into the boiling water. Check the instructions to cook until al Dente (a slight bite).

Once shrimp has color on both sides, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of white wine to the pan and let reduce for a minute.

Drain the pasta and add to the saute pan. Let cook in pan for another minute. The pasta will soak up all those flavors.

Divide to among two bowls and top with a few fresh herbs.

Ideally enjoy with a glass of white wine, especially if you've had a long day.

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