Thursday, 17 April 2014

Summertime- and the Dinner is Easy!

Linguine Estive con Asparagi, Pomodorini, Gamberi & Coriandolo
Summer Linguini with Shrimp, Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes & Coriander

Summer can't come quickly enough, with all of the fresh, light foods we enjoy all the long, hot and sunny days- but at this point, the first days of Spring and the warmth and sunshine they bring will do just fine! At least they have me in the mood for some light and yummy food already- and that is a good thing!

At the same time, I remain a down-to-earth kinda guy and stay true to my guns in not ever being wasteful with food or letting anything go to waste- which is why I made yet another dish with asparagus this week before it outstayed its welcome in my fridge and got to be past its prime. And anyway- having the same ingredient in more than 2-3 meals after another is only boring if what you DO with it is boring!

So after a week of doing other dishes with it, finally the Sicilian in me got the better of me and I decided to make a pasta dish- it just had to be! From just a few very simple ingredients I made a truly wonderful plate of linguini that will thrill your family, friends, loved ones... and of course yourselves, for sure!

I used up the last of the green asparagus- just a handful at this point, a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes, a couple of Spring onions, a handful of shrimp and a handful each of parsley and coriander- or cilantro, depending where you are in the world! And a handful of linguini... or any other pasta you may prefer for that case- everything pasta is good!

But wherever you are, with these simple ingredients, a little lemon juice, some good olive oil and a splash of Sambuca... a light and delicious dish is just 15-20 minutes away... so go get in the kitchen!

The first thing I did of course was to get the water boiling and the pasta cooking! In the meantime, there were plenty of other simple things to do- like cutting the asparagus into 3 pieces, keeping the tender tips separate and keeping the firmer middle and end pieces next to the pasta saucepan for later.

After shelling the shrimp and removing the insides, I finely chopped the Spring onions and then sautéed these 3 ingredients in a little olive oil at a nice, high heat. I decided not to add garlic to mine, but it would also taste terrific and this would be the time to add it if you choose to do so...

Once the pasta has boiled for 5-6 minutes, add the end pieces of the asparagus and turn off the heat- there will be enough residual heat in that water to a.) finish the pasta off cooking and b.) cook the asparagus just enough that it remains firm and tender.

After 2-3 minutes of frying, the shrimp will have become a lovely, vibrant orange-pink color and the asparagus will be a deep, bright green- time to start working some magic and turning this all into a real meal!

What I did with my dish, as I was eating alone, was that I first, briefly deglazed the pan with a splash of sambuca, to bring up the good flavors from the base of the pan, and then added the linguini, straight from the saucepan. Of course you may leave out the Sambuca if you are cooking for children- just add a ladle full of the pasta water, which will also do the trick. I just picked up my pasta with a pair of tongs and dropped it straight into the pan, but you can also drain it properly of course.

Toss the pasta together with the other ingredients, then add the cherry tomatoes, which I chopped into 3-4 slices each, then a good drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice- just make sure to keep the pasta moving and soaking up all of those good flavors...

Next, add the parsley and coriander, both nicely and finely chopped, turn off the heat and toss or stir once more to make sure that the pasta is nicely and evenly coated... its all easy stuff- I told you that it was at the beginning, didn't I?!?

Add a little more olive oil if it needs it- the same applies to lemon juice (maybe a little extra squeeze), but with the juice of the tomatoes and the refreshing cilantro and parsley, I would just say at this point that you shouldn't need to be adding too much of anything ;-)

One thing that is an absolutely not to be overlooked is the freshly ground pepper- and plenty of it! I enjoyed mine piping hot, but have to say that this would taste equally wonderful if it were to be served lukewarm or even nice and cold as a Summer side dish... at this point whatever you do, it is going to taste fantastic!

It doesn't always have to be tomato or cream sauce, it doesn't always have to be complicated... without it being either of those things it can still be wonderful! 

And this is the proof, right here in these pictures... but also hopefully in your own kitchens too if you decide to try this out! I know that I would if I were you! Enjoy!

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