Lemon, Shrimp & Spinach Pasta

This makes a very quick dinner, fresh and delicious.

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Ingredients
For the lemon oil:
1/2 cup warm extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested (in wide strips)

For the pasta:
1 pound linguine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup sliced zucchini
16 ounces frozen shrimp
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces spinach (about 3 packed cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Optional:  1/2 – 1 tsp chile flakes & 1 tbsp butter

 

For the lemon oil:
Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.
For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and saute until just tender.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, chile flakes, butter, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the spinach.  Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded. Add some of the cooking water to desired consistency. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately. (dusted with parmesan if you like)

Linguine with Shrimp and Spinach

I’m really going to try and simplify a few meals …. seems as though I look at 20 or 30 minute meals and only use that as a starting point … always adding more dishes. Next thing I know I’m looking at 60 minute meals … Usually that is just fine, it is my kitchen yoga after a busy day at work. However – sometimes, like when my beautiful Sloan and Stella are helping out, a 20 or 30 minute meal is the way to go.

Freshly harvested corn, spinach and tomatoes make this deliciously simple pasta dish extra tasty.

Freshly harvested corn, spinach and tomatoes make this deliciously simple pasta dish extra tasty.

Here is one for you to try – deliciously simple and when made with fresh tomatoes and spinach out of the garden, not to mention the first of this years corn, it really is enough.

You can use any pasta you like for this – the main point is to cook it in enough salted water – be generous with that salt, and have lots of water. Cook pasta until al dente.

3/4 pound pasta
1 pound raw shrimp
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt
lemon
Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in boiling water, in the last few minutes of cooking time, toss in the shrimp and cook ONLY until the shrimp is opaque and slightly pink throughout. Neither pasta or shrimp do well when overcooked. Drain well, reserving a bit of the pasta water in case needed.

Return to pot and add in freshly grated lemon zest, the juice of 1 lemon, chopped fresh tomato, 2-3 tbsp olive oil and the 4 cups of baby spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If it seems a bit dry, this is the time to add a bit of the pasta water. Parmesan cheese grated over finishes it all off.

Served with the fresh corn on the cob it really is a great meal – quick and easy too.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Capers and Tomatoes

This pasta is quick, light and easy. Most of these ingredients are things I have on hand anyway, so as a last minute dinner it always works – add a fresh, crisp green salad and some garlic toast and your meal is perfect.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Put on a large pot of water to boil – salt only once it has come to rolling boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat a fry pan and stir in:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Once melted, stir in
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
when lightly brown, stir in
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, stir for 30 seconds and add:
3 pounds large shrimp – shelled and deveined
Stir occasionally and cook only until shrimp are cooked through – around 3-4 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper
Finish with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a knob of butter.

Stir well and set aside.

By now your water has come to a boil and you are ready to cook your angel hair pasta – add a generous amount of salt to water, then pasta (enough for 4). Cook for time listed on your pasta container – being careful not to overcook. Drain – reserving 1 cup of the pasta liquid.

Return the pasta to the pot, toss in the shrimp mixture, including and juices, along with:
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp capers
green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir well, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce up a bit and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have any frozen shrimp on hand, this works really well with chicken too!

Toasted Crumbs

Do you ever have left over garlic toast? Bread that is past its “best before” date? Or – as has occasionally happened ….. just forget to take the garlic bread out of the oven to serve??? I can relate to all this very well. Don’t throw it out!

The tastiest use of forgotten or leftover garlic bread is to make bread crumbs.  You'll never buy bread crumbs again!

The tastiest use of forgotten or leftover garlic bread is to make bread crumbs. You’ll never buy bread crumbs again!

Allow it to completely dry out by cutting or tearing it into pieces – then spread on a baking tray and just leaving it be. If you want it toastier just put it in a moderate oven (350) and allow to toast a bit more.

When totally dried out, give it a whiz in your food processor, and you have the tastiest bread crumbs – particularly if you are working with leftover or forgotten garlic bread. If you don’t have an immediate use for it, put crumbs in a ziplock bag in the freezer – stays for ages and so handy to have.

~ ~ Melt a little butter in a frypan and crisp the crumbs up – serve sprinkled over pasta!

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Our good friends Rob and Mandy love fresh crab as much as we do … and that is saying something! She is brilliant at the cooking and prep – something we look forward to so much! Last time we restrained ourselves just enough to have a cup of fresh crab meat left over …. that became tonight’s crab ravioli. Unbelievably good ….

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

Crab Stuffed Ravioli

When I have time I prefer to make my own pasta dough, but in a pinch, these little dumpling wrappers from the Asian market are fabulous.

Won ton or dumpling dough
egg
filling
butter
lemon
freshly chopped chives & parsley

FILLING
1 cup fresh crab meat
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

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Blend everything just until combined, taste and season if necessary.

Using dumpling wrappers, put 1 tsp on one round – brush egg wash around and top with another dumpling wrapper – squeeze the excess air out and seal well.

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Allow to dry while you prepare a sauce.

Melt 1/2 cup butter, stir in juice and zest of 1 lemon. Toss in fresh chives and parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook ravioli in well salted boiling water. Be careful not to cook too many at a time or the water temperature will drop.

Once they have bounced around the surface for a couple of minutes, transfer to sauce pan with lemon butter sauce, adding a tablespoon or so of pasta water. Toss with a bit of the fresh herbs and season to taste.

Torn and Tossed Garlic Bread

Everybody loves the crunchy crust and soft tender bits of garlic bread – why not get more of it?

Torn garlic bread is crunchy and soft all at the same time.

Torn garlic bread is crunchy and soft all at the same time.

I had a loaf of sourdough bread and half a loaf of French bread – rather than tear it I cut it all into approximately 2 inch pieces.

Melt 1/2 cup butter, stir in 2 garlic cloves and 1 small shallot – both chopped fine. Naturally, use more garlic if you feel so inclined (and everybody is eating it…).

In a large bowl combine the melted butter, garlic and shallot mixture – add in the cubed bread, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

This is great made earlier in the day too, just let it sit and absorb all those flavours.

When you are ready to serve, spread cubes on baking sheet – take care not to overcrowd the pieces. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes just until the outside is nice and crispy, golden brown.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve – everybody will love it!

Serve this with as any side dish, or with your favorite soup or salad.

Creamy Tahini Salad Dressing

This salad dressing makes a large jar – use it on anything! So great for pasta salads, rice salads, dressed up grilled vegetables, brush it on chicken for grilling, let your imagination run wild. You will love it – something we first had with my “Red Rice Rocks”, also known as a bowl of goodness.

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 generous tbsp tahini paste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

red chili flakes (optional)

1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil in a blender – blend briefly, and then slowly drizzle in the oil until smooth and creamy.