Monday, September 14, 2009

Lemon spaghetti

I was looking for a tasty side dish to pair with pan-roasted pork tenderloin and came across a recipe in "Everyday Italian" by Giada DeLaurentis.

The combination of lemon and Parmesan cheese sounded like it would be a nice compliment to the meat and a simple side of steamed asparagus.

After reading the recipe, I decided (of course) to make a couple of my own modifications.

So, here is my version, with a little more cheese than she called for and with some garlic that she did not call for.

Lemon spaghetti

2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
salt and pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, Parmesan, lemon juice and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.
Once pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, then drain pasta.
Toss pasta with lemon sauce, basil and lemon zest. If you want the pasta to be saucier, toss in reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time to get desired consistency.
This was a great side for my roasted pork. The lemon gave it nice little zing and the garlic I added gave it more of the bite I was hoping for.
I think this would be good on its own as a simple dinner with a salad. It also seems like it would pair well with grilled shrimp or fish.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Herb-grilled chicken with herb-yogurt sauce

Since my fish options are limited these days, I am trying to find new and different (and easy) ways to make chicken.

This was a very easy, very tasty option. I started the chicken marinating the night before, so it got close to a full 24 hours in the marinade.

As I was making Tuesday's dinner, I just whipped up the marinade for this and got a head start on Wednesday's meal.

The herb puree-marinade made a nice crust on the chicken when it was grilled, and the herb-yogurt sauce was a cool and tangy contrast.

Herb-grilled chicken with herb-yogurt sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or breast steaks
salt and pepper
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/3 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne or other hot pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup Greek yogurt

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

Puree the parsley, basil, garlic, salt and cayenne until it is a paste.
Blend in olive oil until it is smooth.

Set aside half the herb mixture.

Using the other half of the herb mixture, set the chicken to marinate. Cover and refrigerate. The chicken can be marinated for up to 24 hours.

Get your grill ready... I used a gas grill set on high to preheat it, then lowered to medium before I put the chicken on to cook.

Cook chicken 7-10 minutes, turning halfway through, until firm to the touch.

Once the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and let rest 10 minutes.

While chicken is resting (or in my case, the night before) mix the yogurt with the herb puree that you had set aside. Sauce will be fine in the fridge overnight.

Serve chicken with sauce.

I made some grilled yellow squash, zucchini and orange peppers with this. I gave the veggies a quick dip in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar before grilling.

For a carb, I brushed some baguette slices with the oil and vinegar and grilled those on each side.

It was a flavorful meal, but still fairly light. And it was sooooo easy.