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« Eggplant & Roasted Red Pepper Panini | Main | Lasagna Soup »
Tuesday
Oct162012

Lemon, Spinach, and Red Chili Pasta

A few weeks ago I mentioned in a blog post that I realized I am not that talented at Asian cuisine because of a terrible mishap with rice noodles and broccoli that I will never mention to my cooks. After days of racking my brain with what went wrong, how I could have screwed up so terribly with the amount of time I spend thinking about food. Then it hit me. Like an epiphany, but slightly more painful to my ego. I cannot follow recipes. In all the time I have spent with food, all the specials I have designed for the restaurant, every time I print out a recipe and follow it to the T it never is what I expect. I do not know if it is my inability to follow directions, or maybe I just cannot read. Who knows? While I was deciding what to make for dinner tonight, I was browsing my Food & Wine App for some ideas to start my culinary wheels when this recipe popped up. It intrigued me and when I pitched it to my taste-tester (girlfriend) she was all for it. When I got to the store to buy all the ingredients I started reading the recipe and I about died. Yogurt instead of heavy cream? Then I remembered. “Follow your gut Lane, do not trust this recipe, you will screw it up.” So I listened to myself. I browsed while I thought of all the ingredients I wanted, and when all was said and done it turned out better than I thought it would. I am not saying I am some sort of prodigy when it comes to food, I just know when something feels off with a recipe. That just shows me to always trust my gut when it comes to food.

Ingredients:

½ Stick of Real Butter

4 Cloves of fresh peeled and minced garlic

5oz Fresh Baby Spinach

½ of a Red Chili Pepper (no seeds)

1 Whole Lemon Juiced

2 Cups Heavy Cream

5oz Uncooked Pasta (fresh preferably)

 

Normally I talk about how you can substitute dried, jarred, or canned ingredients to save money on your dinner, but this time I went all out. It still was not expensive but it is hard to compare dried pasta compared to fresh. Melt your butter with the minced garlic in a 3 to 4 quart pot over medium low heat. When the garlic appears translucent then you can add your spinach. In the last recipe I posted I talked about how the flavor of translucent garlic versus browned garlic in my lasagna soup. The difference in flavor for this dish is not much, but I prefer not to crunch away at garlic in pasta.

 

Once all of the spinach is in, toss with a spatula to coat the spinach with butter and garlic. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes and continue to stir. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer until the spinach is cooked down fully and it appears dark green. Add your minced red chili pepper and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or less to allow some of the moisture from the spinach to evaporate. Add the heavy cream, raise the heat to medium and continue to stir regularly to prevent the cream from overflowing or burning. At this point you can start to boil your water. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh pasta like linguine there is no need to add oil to your water. Inside fresh pasta the oil used to make it is still active and you do not want to change the flavor of fresh pasta. Once your sauce has reduced by a quarter into slightly thinner than paint consistency then you can start to boil your pasta. Fresh pasta only takes 3 minutes to cook when dried pasta takes 8 minutes. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and plate the pasta. Ladle the sauce directly on top for presentation purposes and serve with some fresh Italian bread and a nice glass of wine. Many say white wine with white sauce, but I prefer red anytime there is pasta involved. This wine was a gift from my girlfriend’s father’s private stock. It is a sangiovese petit sera and it paired perfectly for me. Enjoy!

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