Bucatini with Lemony Carbonara

My son said, “I may not be able to eat another type of pasta for the rest of my life.” If that wasn’t enough, he then added, “This is one of the best dinners I’ve ever eaten.” I’ll take that complement! ūüôā

I must say that the bucatini noodles were wonderful. A perfect complement to this quick and luscious sauce. The added lemon zest and juice in this version of the classic dish balanced nicely with the richness. I also loved the hint of spice from the freshly cracked black pepper.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Chris Morocco. I served it with roasted asparagus on the side. Absolutely fabulous!

Yield: 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 ounces¬†pancetta, cubed, or slab bacon, thinly sliced and cut crosswise into ¬Ĺ-inch pieces
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 16 ounces bucatini or other long-strand pasta
  • coarse¬†salt
  • 2 ounces Parmesan or Grana¬†Padano Parmesan, grated, divided, plus more for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus thinly sliced zest for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook pancetta, tossing often, until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add pepper and cook, stirring often, just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1¬Ĺ cups pasta cooking liquid.
  5. Add pasta to skillet along with ¬Ĺ cup pasta cooking liquid and 1 oz. Parmesan and toss to coat.
  6. Remove skillet from heat and add egg yolks. Toss again, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a smooth glossy sauce coats pasta.
  7. Add grated lemon zest, lemon juice, and another 1 oz. Parmesan. Toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed to loosen sauce. (I added a total of 1 cup pasta water.)
  8. Divide pasta among bowls; top with sliced lemon zest and more Parmesan, as desired.

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Shortcut Avgolemeno (Greek Chicken Soup with Egg-Lemon Sauce)

This soup is truly season-less, but especially perfect on a cool and rainy autumn day. That’s today for me. ūüė¶

A soup like this is the exact reason to have homemade stock in the freezer! This recipe is from Food Network.com, contributed by Cat Cora. I modified the recipe to use a rotisserie chicken (such a shortcut!) and homemade stock. Loved it. Delicious.

Yield: about 8 servings

  • 1 (approximately 3 pound)¬†rotisserie chicken
  • 12 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups finely diced onion (I used¬†1 large yellow onion)
  • 2/3 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. To Prepare the Chicken: Pull the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Coarsely shred or dice the meat into large cubes; refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Warm the stock over high heat, add the rice and onion and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and reduce the broth to a low simmer.
  6. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the lemon juice and eggs.
  7. Ladle 2 cups of hot broth into a measuring cup with a pourable spout. While whisking, slowly pour the 2 cups of broth into the egg mixture.
  8. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot, add 1/2 tablespoon salt (less if using store-bought stock) and 1 teaspoon ground pepper. Stir well to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
  9. Divide among bowls and serve immediately.

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Chicken Meunière

Did I mention that I was feeling the need to transport myself to France? My mom and brother were just there on a special trip. Those of us left behind were trying to feel better by eating some French food. ūüôā

I actually made this dish as an afterthought… I knew that I wanted to make Pear Clafoutis for dessert and wanted a suitable main dish! Like Clafoutis, (post to follow…), this is an elegant weeknight dish. They were a perfect match.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. We ate it with roasted asparagus, lemon slices, and brown Basmati rice. Lovely.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins (about 12)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 cup (approximately) all-purpose flour, panko, or cornmeal for dredging
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4¬†tablespoons unsalted butter,¬†separated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  1. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. (I used cast iron.) While it is heating, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and place the flour, panic, or cornmeal in a 8×8-inch baking pan or pie dish.
  2. Place the oil and 2 T butter in the skillet, and turn the heat to medium-high. When the oil is hot and the butter has melted, dredge the cutlets in the coating, turning them a few times and pressing them down so they are well covered. After you dredge each, add it to the pan.
  3. Cook until the chicken is nicely brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then turn. Cook 2 to 4 minutes until the chicken is firm to the touch (lower the heat if the coating begins to scorch).
  4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium heat until it is nut-brown; set aside.
  5. When the chicken is done, drain it briefly on a paper towel, then transfer to a warm platter.
  6. Drizzle with lemon juice, and top with half the parsley. At the last-minute, pour the browned butter over the chicken, add the remaining parsley and serve.

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If you like this you may also like:

Creamy Tomato Risotto with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

This wonderful dish is truly season-less. I made it with canned tomatoes but it would be amazing adapted to use fresh summer tomatoes and garden herbs. The crispy garlic breadcrumbs add crunch and a burst of flavor.

I modified the original recipe to cook in a pressure cooker- making it an elegant weeknight meal. (I use my pressure cooker almost exclusively for risotto!) This recipe was adapted from Nicky @Kitchen Sanctuary.com. Lovely!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Risotto:

  • 800 g/28 oz can diced¬†tomatoes (or peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 400 ml/16 fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 T¬†tomato paste
  • 2 T extra-virgin¬†olive oil
  • 1 large¬†yellow or sweet onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 300¬†g/11 oz/ 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 150¬†ml/5¬†fl oz white wine (optional, replace with stock if you’d prefer)
  • 100 ml/4 fl oz light or heavy¬†cream
  • 60 g/2 oz freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano
  • freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
  • 2 generous¬†pinches of coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Crispy Garlic Crumbs:

  • 1 1/2 T unsalted butter
  • generous pinch or two of coarse salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 60 g/2 oz panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 T chopped chives or parsley
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 40 g/1.5¬†oz freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano

To Make the Tomato Stock:

  1. Using a colander or sieve, strain a can of chopped tomatoes over a bowl. Use a spoon to mash the tomatoes left in the sieve to a fine pulp, then pour this pulp back into the tomato juice in the bowl.
  2. Add in the stock and tomato paste and stir. The total yield will be a scant 6 cups.

To Make the Risotto:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pressure cooker (5 to 7 quarts). Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to go translucent, add in the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the rice and stir until it turns opaque, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the unheated tomato stock and the wine. Stir to combine.
  4. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running (drizzling) cold water.¬†

To Make the Crispy Garlic Crumbs:

  1. Heat the butter in a small frying pan until it starts to foam.
  2. Add the salt and the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the breadcrumbs and stir to ensure the butter covers all of the breadcrumbs.
  4. Allow to cook until the breadcrumbs start to brown a little, stirring often. Keep a close eye on them as they burn very easily.
  5. When ready, turn off the heat and add in the herbs, lemon zest and parmesan.

To Finish the dish:

  1. Open the lid of the pressure cooker, being careful of the steam. Add in the cream, cheese, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.
  2. Scoop portions out onto shallow bowls or plates. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top and serve.

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Rigatoni with Lemon-Chile Pesto & Grated Egg

This lovely dish¬†just screams spring. It is rich and buttery and topped with grated egg yolks. It is cheesy and slightly spicy, but at the same time bright and fresh with lemon juice and zest. It really has it all. ūüôā

The recipe for this fabulous dish is from Bon Appetit. It is the third vegetarian pasta I’m bringing to the party this week at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #63. This was my favorite of the three –¬†absolutely delicious!!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 ounces rigatoni or other short pasta
  • coarse¬†salt
  • 4 hard-boiled large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ¬Ĺ ounce Pecorino Romano, finely grated (about ¬Ĺ cup)
  1. Cover the eggs with 1-inch of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes, drain, and fill with cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggs. Set aside.
  2. Zest and juice the lemons.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (pasta will still be opaque and very firm in the center). Drain pasta, reserving 1¬Ĺ cups pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, finely grate egg yolks on the small holes of a box grater and set aside.
  5. Heat 6 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high.
  6. Add both kinds of lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes, swirling pan to incorporate.
  7. Add pasta and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing often and adding more cooking liquid to help finish cooking pasta, until pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened and coats pasta, about 5 minutes.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add Pecorino Romano and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to pasta and toss until melted.
  10. Serve pasta topped with reserved grated egg yolks.

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Kabocha Squash Puree with Browned Butter & Sage

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Last year, I saw kabocha squash recipes everywhere- after the season was over. When I saw this special squash in the store this year, I bought one without a plan- I didn’t want to miss out again…

We ate this wonderful side dish, adapted from a “staff-favorite” Food and Wine recipe contributed by Michael Tusk, with grilled chicken sausages! It wasn’t the best compliment- but was absolutely delicious anyway. ūüôā The squash was creamy and sweet and the browned butter added rich nuttiness. This dish would be a better match to an elegant meal. Next time! ūüôā

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

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  • 1 kabocha squash (about 3 pounds each), halved and seeded
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
  • 4 sage leaves
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425¬į and line a roasting pan with parchment paper. Rub the inside of each squash half with 1 tablespoon of the butter and press a sage leaf onto each one. Season the squash with salt and pepper and place cut side down in the roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour, until tender. Let cool. Discard the sage and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  2. In a small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the remaining 2 sage leaves and cook over moderate heat until the butter is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sage to a plate.
  3. Add the browned butter and lemon juice to the squash and mash to a puree. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the squash to a bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and garnish with the fried sage leaves.

Make Ahead: The squash puree can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat in a microwave before garnishing.

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