Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al Limone

Being a Manhattan-based millennial, I am often faced with a decision when developing a pasta-based recipe: Do I want to use a box of Barilla, or do I wanted to pull out my spiralizer and twirl a zucchini?

I will happily declare my love for spiralizing fruits and vegetables. I am a fan girl of Inspiralized; been following that blog since 2014! It’s a nice way to eat your vegetables in a different manner; I honestly do not enjoy cubed or sliced vegetables nearly as much anymore when I can twirl curly sweet potato “noodles” around my fork.

That being said, some things shouldn’t be messed with. Spaghetti al Limone is a sacred dish. When it comes to this recipe, I go FULL CARB. Flour. Wheat. GLUTEN. Sweet, delicious, allegedly inflammatory gluten! This ain’t no place for a zoodle, in my oh – so – humble opinion.

(And if / when I make a zoodle-based Spahgetti al Limone recipe months or years from now, feel free to call me out. Ha!)

Spaghetti al Limone

When I lived in the Hudson Heights section of Manhattan for 4+ years, I was blessed because I lived one block away from one of the best Italian restaurants in the whole city: Saggio. Their Spaghetti al Limone is the best I’ve ever had! In fact, it’s theirs that caused me to discover this wonderful recipe in the first place! Theirs is cream-based and served with an entire half of lemon on the side. Amazing!

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Though I’ve attempted a cream-based version, I do enjoy my cream-less version. It takes less time, it’s still insanely flavorful, and it saves me from spending $4 on a bottle of heavy cream that I’ll only use half of, leaving the rest of slowly die in my fridge for 2 months. Haaaa.

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Spaghetti al Limone
(Makes 2 main-sized servings or 3 – 4 side servings)

Ingredients:

– 8 – 10 ounces spaghetti, uncooked
– 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, finely grated
– Juice of two lemons
– 2/3 cups olive oil
– Zest of one lemon
– 1 cup fresh basil, chiffonade-cut
– 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– It is preferable to grate the cheese so it is fine (powdery) rather than shredded. Either manner of grating will work, but Parmesan that is shredded tends to clump up more when mixed with the pasta. Finely grated cheese will yield a smoother consistency.

– Eat this dish as soon as you make it. It does NOT make for good leftovers. Trust me. I tried. 😉

Directions:

1.) In a large saucepan, cook spaghetti until it is al dente, approximately 8 minutes. Before draining, remove 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine; this lemon cheese mixture will become thick.

3.) Pour lemon cheese mixture onto pasta and toss; add the basil and continue to toss until all ingredients are combined and basil has wilted. If the mixture seems to dry, slowly add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is met. Add salt to taste.

4.) Serve immediately, topped with more basil, parmesan, and / or lemon slices, if desired.

hello fresh product review

Product Review – Hello, Fresh!

If there is one thing that this blog and its accompanying social media outlets have proven, it’s that I know how to develop and create some great recipes. I’m not trying to be self-congratulatory (HA!), but I’m just stating a fact. Still, with recipe development comes the inevitable stages of trial and error. As much as I don’t want to admit this, I have definitely bought too many products that I have wasted. If I buy too much hamburger meat, I’ll wrap it up and freeze it, thinking to myself, “I can thaw this in a month and make some meatballs or toss it into some chili!” Six months later, I’ll come across that frozen aluminum-foiled covered brick beneath my pint of Sea Salt Caramel Talenti, heave a heavy sigh, and pitch it into my trash bin. So many zucchinis and avocados have met their unfortunate end in my kitchen, though I can only hope that my composting has given them a second life someplace else. I don’t like to waste food, and I’m sure I’m currently preaching to the choir. I try as hard as I can to buy what I use and use all that I have. Still…I’m not always perfect.

Hello Fresh, I welcome you with opened arms.

Hello Fresh is fantastic because it’s fool-proof and efficient. I recently received three meals from them: Steak and Brussels Sprout Stir-Fry, Spicy Pork and Kale Soup with Udon Noodles, and Cauliflower Pancetta Mac and Cheese.

hello fresh product review

Post-election, without getting too preachy, virtually all of my friends were feeling rather down and out about the state of our country. With all of these boxes of food and my stomach, unfortunately, not big enough to ingest it all by myself, I thought, “Wouldn’t a little potluck meal boost our collective spirits a bit?”

As for the Spicy Pork & Kale Soup, I kept that for myself. However, I decided to break out the Steak and Brussels Sprout Stir-Fry and the Cauliflower Pancetta Mac and Cheese to share with the masses, complemented with an array of roasted vegetables and additional jasmine rice on the side. Also…mimosas. We had a LOT of mimosas. Ha! (Hey, it was Saturday afternoon. It’s all good.) And should I mention the vegan apple cider donuts and (non-vegan) chocolate donuts I ALSO made? I think it goes without saying that my calves were killin’ me the next day! Cooking for multiple hours while entertaining is strength and cardio. *phew*

hello fresh product review

I am a very concrete person, so I loved two things about these Hello Fresh boxes. One, the colorful and informative instructions left little to question. I appreciate transparency and clarity in recipes. Hell, I’ve looked back at old recipes of mine on this blog and have edited them after thinking, “…wait? Does that make sense?”

hello fresh product review

Two, the ingredient portions were exact, so no ingredient was wasted. It was all down to a T! In the mac and cheese box, I literally got one tablespoon of flour to make the roux with! I appreciated exact vegetable and meat portions, especially. Nothing was wasted, which made me feel good.

hello fresh product review

As for the taste? Superb! Well-developed recipes with exact ingredients and precise directions beget a perfectly seasoned dish. If you follow what’s written, you’re guaranteed to consume a delicious meal!

hello fresh product review

My wonderful yet voracious friends ate all of the mac and cheese before I could photograph it, and I can’t even be mad at them. Ha! It was collectively inhaled! As for the stir-fry, everyone was very pleased, as well. The meat was tender, the vegetables obtained a nice smoky char, and it wasn’t overwhelmingly salty, even with the addition of soy sauce.

While I am all about making my own meals about 99.99% of the time, I don’t think I’d necessarily discount using Hello Fresh again in the future! Some of the meals they put together are unique and have ingredients that I can’t easily get at my well-stocked C-Town. (i.e.: My C-Town does not have a single udon noodle in sight. Ha!) As I type this, I’m perusing their menu for next week. I’m seeing gems like Pork Larb over Jade Rice and Tuscan Ribollita. Wow! Rather than search high and low for a single Thai chili pepper or waste money on an entire bottle of sesame oil that I’d rarely use, I could get it all, perfectly portioned, in one box.

Ahhhhh, wonderful simplicity! It doesn’t get much better than that.

hello fresh product review

A smattering of my friends digging into the Hello Fresh potluck, with mimosas and donut ingredients in the foreground, and one friend practicing her yoga n the background. It’s always good to stay centered prior to a big meal!

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DISCLOSURE: The fine folks at Hello Fresh provided me with complimentary meal boxes to cook and review. I’d like to thank them for their generosity and making the stomachs of quite a few people very full and happy. All opinions shared in this post are my own.

curried vegetable ramen

Curried Vegetable Ramen with Soft-Boiled Egg

Have you ever been extremely well prepared when going to the grocery store, list of ingredients and recipes in hand, and then you get to the store and have a total panic attack over what to get?

Oh, god, it’s just me, isn’t it?

That was me last night. I spent my lunch break yesterday thinking of ideas for dinner and lunches for the rest of my work week. Maybe I could cook up some chicken with coconut milk and curry with a side of brown rice and vegetables. Maybe I could roast chicken thighs in the oven with carrots and saute some zucchini. As I walked around the store, I found myself looking at chicken and getting frustrated. I couldn’t find any pieces that looked good. I walked around the vegetable section. Every single container of washed baby spinach was gone. GONE. I went to the fresh spinach section, and the amount of slime on it made me cringe. I went to the Goya section, and all of the coconut milk was gone except the industrial-sized barrels (read: family-sized cans) of it. I started to get frustrated: it was hot. I was tired. I just had to endure a horrible commute home because traffic on 57th Street was tied up due to some moron trying to scale Trump Tower. I JUST WANTED MY DINNER TO COME TOGETHER.

Out of the corner of my eye, on my third return to the vegetable aisle, I spotted some radishes. I don’t know why they clicked, but it did. “That might be good with some ramen noodles,” I thought.

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Well…

I got home with my radishes and 19¢ package of ramen noodles, found some chicken broth and frozen spinach, and ended up being complete placated about 30 minutes later as I ate my impromptu creation.

curried vegetable ramen

P.S.: How great are these blue eggs I found? I used minimal photo editing to enhance the color of the yolks, too. They really were that brilliant.

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curried vegetable ramen

Curried Vegetable Ramen with Soft-Boiled Egg
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

– 1 package ramen noodles, flavor packet discarded
– 2 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegan version)
– 1 tablespoon curry powder (I use Jamaican style)
– 1/4 cup frozen spinach or 1/2 cup spinach, washed and finely chopped
– 1 – 2 radishes, rinsed and sliced (I used just one for these photos)
– 1 soft-boiled egg (omit for vegan version)

Before We Get Started…

This meal, as stated in the ingredient notes, can be made vegan. Substitute vegetable broth or water for chicken broth and omit the egg. See Step #3 under Directions for egg substitutes.

Directions:

1.) In a medium sauce pan, bring broth to a slow boil; add curry powder and stir. Add ramen noodles and cook for 3 minutes or until separated and softened. Add spinach and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

2.) To make soft-boiled egg, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add egg and time for 6 – 7 minutes; do not cook longer than 7 minutes! Keep an eye on that clock!

3.) Transfer noodles and broth to large bowl. Top with sliced radish and egg; substitute additional vegetables / mushrooms of your choice in lieu of egg if making a vegan version.

curried vegetable ramen

Ravioli with Peas & Garlic

Is it odd that, because I cook so much for myself, that I feel an odd pang of guilt whenever I take a shortcut? I have bypassed store-bought gnocchi so many times; though homemade is supreme, the time it takes to create it is longer than what it takes one to cut open a package of Bertolli and plop into boiling water for three minutes. That being said…I’ve made my own gnocchi more time than I’ve bought it. It’s always a fun project, but not applicable to when you want a heartier and quick pasta dish at the end of a long work day.

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Okay, I’m learning to get over it. Haaa.

I used to hate tortellini and ravioli as a kid; it had more to do with the preparation of it than the pasta itself. I still shudder at the thought of overcooked tortellini swimming in a pond of watery Ragù topped with clumpy Kraft Parmesan cheese. I’ve always been turned off by odd textures, and that combination ranked high on my list of most hated. Well, I find that I enjoy ravioli best when dressed simply with a light coating of butter or oil, and the more vegetables (and cheese!), the better. Any vegetable you want will do. That being said: all hail frozen peas! They’ve bulked up many meals of mine, and here, the tradition continues. I love keeping them in my fridge when I just need a little extra something.

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If you’re vegan, substitute oil for butter, ditch the Parmesan, and use vegan-friendly ravioli. Amp up the garlic to keep that good flavor burst!

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Ravioli with Peas & Garlic
(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

– 12 ounce package ravioli, fresh or frozen
– 8 ounces frozen peas, dethawed
– 4 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted or 2 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer using butter in this recipe)
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) In a small pan, heat butter or olive oil over medium-low to medium heat. Add garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute or until soft and fragrant; do not let garlic brown. Remove pan from heat and set aside; do not discard butter or oil! This will be used when tossing the pasta.

2.) In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add ravioli and boil for two minutes or according to package’s directions. Drain and return to large pot. Immediately toss with garlic butter mixture, peas, and Parmesan. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately, topping with more Parmesan, if desired.

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Spinach Parmesan Pasta

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If you are a food lover searching Google and Pinterest for pasta recipes, you’ll see that we live in a world full of zoodles. The nutritional benefits that come from replacing pasta with zucchini are quite clear: lower calories, lower carbs, and more vitamins and minerals. They are light, they are refreshing, and they can replace pasta in most every instance. I’m a huge fan and I make them at least once a week!

But I’ll be damned if I sit here and state that I don’t still love a big freakin’ bowl of pasta every now and then.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If I could down bowls of mac & cheese or spaghetti with pesto without gaining a pound, my pantry would have every kind of pasta imaginable. I’d also have a season pass at Eataly. (Oh, goodness, imagine if that existed…)

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If there is something better than a big bowl of pasta, it’s a big bowl of pasta that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes flat. I found this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, and fell in love with its simplicity, its lightness, and yet its ability to leave me feeling perfectly full without being overstuffed.

Truth: I ate this for dinner one night. Then I made it for lunch the next day. Then I ate it again for dinner that same night.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

The zoodles can wait. Give me some damn carbs.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta
(Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe for 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Pasta)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 8 ounces thin spaghetti, uncooked
– 5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, separated into two 1/4 cup parts
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.

2.) In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and cook for two to three minutes or until soft and slightly golden brown. Turn off heat and return pasta to pan. Toss with garlic. Add spinach and toss well until spinach is wilted; slowly add pasta water, if needed, if pasta starts to dry out or spinach is slow to wilt. Toss with one part parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Serve with additional part of parmesan cheese for garnish.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta