It wasn't too long ago that I discovered a store which sold only olive oils and balsamic vinegars from different parts of the world. I thought I was in heaven sampling so many different varieties. Daniel waited for me in the car and I kept going back and forth with bread dipped in different oils for him to taste. The young man who served me thought this was quite comical, but he was a good sport. Some were for main dishes and others for dessert. These exquisite delicacies do not come inexpensively so I decided on three that I thought I would use the most. However, I will go back for more.
I purchased Lemon Olive Oil, Wild Mushroom Sage Oil, and Sicilian Meyer Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar. I knew exactly what I would do with the lemon flavored oil, but the wild mushroom was a bit mystifying. However as soon as we dipped grilled crusty bread in it, I knew it would be reserved for this purpose or rubbed on chicken. It is so earthy and pungent it needs nothing else to enhance it, except for perhaps a glass of Pinot Noir.
I have read recipes for Lemon Linguine before but I don't think they have accomplished what a good recipe should, and that is to awaken the senses of smell and taste at the same time. When you take a bite of something you should be able to taste the textures and layers of flavors, and after you swallow that taste should still linger on the back of your tongue, making you moan with satisfaction.
So I decided to “kick it up a notch,” as Emeril would say and this recipe is what I came up with. It's difficult for me to share exact measurements, because I cook by what looks right to me. Also, I have all of these herbs in my garden. When winter comes I'll be substituting dried for fresh, and remember you don't need as much dried as fresh. If you don't have lemon oil or lemon vinegar, don't worry about it, just use more lemon juice. Amounts will vary depending on how much pasta you cook.
½ to 1 lb linguine or fettuccine
Lemon olive oil
Lemon vinegar (about 2-3 tbsp.)
3 tbsp. Butter
Juice and zest of 1or 2 lemons
Toasted slivered almonds (place nuts in a dry pan over medium heat and stir till slightly browned)
Vegetables of your choice cut into bite size pieces. Asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, artichoke hearts; the sky is the limit.
About 2-3 tbsp each of chopped basil, mint, lemon balm and thyme. No, it is not too many herbs. They all work together.
1.Start boiling a pot of water.
2.While water is coming to a boil saute vegetables in 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter over medium high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
3.Turn down heat to simmer so as not to overcook the vegetables.
4.At this point the water will most likely be boiling. Add a palm size amount of coarse salt to the water and add linguine and cook according to directions.
5.Add the herbs to the vegetables and simmer for a couple of minutes.
6.To a large bowl add the lemon juice, lemon vinegar and remaining butter.
7.When pasta is cooked al dente, drain, (reserving ½ to 1 cup of water.)
8. Add the pasta to the vegetables, mixing together with the reserved water. Simmer the pasta and vegetables, turning with tongs to incorporate the flavors. Add salt and pepper to your likeness.
9.Pour the pasta mixture into the bowl; drizzle with a little oil and ½ to ¾ cups of cheese. Turn several times with tongs to mix. Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve with a heaping spoonful of love.
mangiare bene a te
© Christine Geery 2011