Weekly Winner: Creamy, Dreamy, Guilt-free Pasta

IMG_0815I am not one of those people who ever feel guilty about eating pasta.  Carbs and I go way back and we’ll always be BFFs.  That’s one of the many reasons why I never want hubby to give up his Saturday morning running group.  It gives me carte-blanche to prepare a pasta dish every Friday night for dinner. Runners have to carbo-load, right??)

That does not mean I can go crazy and have sausage-laden, cheesy, ooey-gooey pasta every week (I, do not run).  I still want a meal that I won’t regret eating come Saturday morning.  That is why I absolutely love this Linguine with Chickpeas and Zucchini that I found in Cook’s Country magazine.  It tastes creamy and rich due in part to the partially smashed chickpeas and grated zucchini.  There’s also just enough cheese to satisfy without making it seem heavy.  All around the perfect summer pasta.

You know it’s good when hubby decided to freeze the leftovers to have again this Friday when I won’t be home to cook!

Linguine with Chickpeas and Zucchini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb linguine

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 zucchini, shredded and patted dry

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1 cup)

3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

Procedure:

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a Dutch oven.  Add pasta and 1 Tbsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.
  2. Heat oil, garlic, pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in now-empty pot over medium heat until garlic is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and chickpeas and cook until zucchini is wilted and most of its excess moisture has cooked off, about 6 minutes. Using a potato masher, lightly mash chickpeas.
  3. Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup Pecorino, parsley, lemon juice, pasta and reserved cooking water. Serve, passing lemon wedges, extra oil, and remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino separately.
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Weekly Winner: Silly Name, Sensational Salmon

IMG_0759Sometimes the name of a dish will draw me in.  It paints a picture of what the final dish will look like.  And if said name includes certain key words, such as “creamy, bacon, cheesy, or pork”, chances are I’m gonna read the recipe.  Then comes something called Bruschetta Salmon and I was stumped.  Was this toast with salmon on it?  Were they substituting the salmon for the bread in some paleo-gone-wild attempt at an appetizer?  How would that work?  Then I actually read the recipe and understood.  It’s basically salmon with all the flavors of a typical bruschetta used as a topping.  What a great idea!  And I might add, what a tasty, quick dinner!

A word of warning for the faint of heart:  this fish dish has cheese in it!  I know, I know…. blasphemy, right?  Wrong! It’s good. Get over it.  I’ve never quite understood the rule about no cheese with fish or seafood.  I’m sorry, a tuna melt?  Hello?  Enough said.  This tasty little rule-breaker of a recipe comes from Delish.com.  It’s quick, it’s cheerful, it’s dang yummy and I will definitely be making it again soon.  Silly name and all!

Bruschetta Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 (6-oz) salmon fillets

1 tsp dried oregano

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

3 cups halved cherry tomatoes

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup thinly sliced basil

Freshly grated Parmesan

Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Procedure:

  1. Season salmon all over with oregano, salt and pepper
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil.  When oil is shimmering but not smoking, add salmon skin-side up and cook until deeply golden, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook 6 minutes, until salmon is opaque and flakes easily.  Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to skillet, then stir in garlic and shallots.  Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes just begin to burst. Remove from heat and squeeze over lemon juice
  4. Serve salmon with tomato mixture spooned on top.  Garnish each serving with basil and parmesan, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.