Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lemony Summer Pasta with Optional Anchovy Sauce

I got home on the late side last night and wanted a light supper. I had some lemon basil pesto in the ice box, rigatoni in the pantry and soon I was whipping up a quick and easy summer dinner.

First, I halved some cherry tomatoes, chopped fresh garlic and scapes and grated some fresh parmesan

I sauteed the tomatoes first as they take the longest to cook.  Then I added the scapes and a bit later the chopped fresh garlic.  I cut a lemon in half and cook it along with the other ingredients.  You want the lemon to get carmalized.
All the while the rigatoni was cooking - it takes a good 10 - 12 minutes.  Make sure it's al dente as you're going to finish it off in the pan so all the luscious ingredients will blend beautifully.  Drain it and allow some of the pasta water to make its way in the mixture.  I put a ladle a bit of pasta water in as well.  I use my spider spoon to get the rigatoni from the pasta water so I can keep that starchy water to help thicken the sauce. 

Add a few tablespoons of Sundried Tomato Tapenade

Next the lemon pesto, parmesan, some more fresh lemon and anchovy juice

What's that you say?  Anchovy Juice?  Sounds dreadful but using it sparingly it adds an amazing depth of flavor.  There are many brands on the market but I use Agostino Recca.  I pour a thin layer on top of tuna sandwiches and it's good on sliced tomatoes too. You can buy it at Eataly and other specialty Italian stores.  It's a bargain at $9.99 a bottle.  If you don't like anchovies you can skip the anchovy juice.

Not to get all Paula Dean on you, but I add a small amount of butter.  Be sure to get a high quality butter.  Rather than Land O Lakes go for an imported butter such as Lurpak from Denmark.  True confessions time: I sauteed the tomatoes, etc. in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a trace amount of butter. I add butter to the top of the mixture at the end too - make sure it's room temperature.

Mix everthing together in your pan - grate the parmesan right on top and squeeze some more lemon juice on top.  BTW - I use a Le Ceuset non stick pan.  I love it.  It can go from stove top to the oven (though not needed for this dish).

Et voila! A simple but exquisite supper.  The anchovy juice and fresh lemon really turn this into something extra special on a hot summer night.  I tossed in some red pepper flake at the end to give it a nice kick.  What the heck - grate some more parmasan on, too.

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