Spring Vegetable & Basil Carbonara

photo-575This past weekend I took a trip to St. George in southern Utah for the first time. It was unbelievable, the scenery is so dramatic and colorful, it looks fake. Large red rocks, red sand and crisp blue sky makes you feel as though you are in a poster or movie. photo-578I also walked a Labyrinth for the first time in Kayenta at the Coyote Gulch Art Village. I had never walked in one before. There is one way in and one way out, by meandering through the path you reach the center stone where you can place an offering, prayer or write your name, before weaving through the path the same way you came in. Stepping over the stones or jumping out of the circle is bad luck and disrupts your journey. It was fun activity in a beautiful location! photo-9Walking through the Labyrinth was beautiful and calming- until I got to the center and realized I had to do the whole thing over again! But I was too afraid to jump the rocks for fear of upsetting some Earth God and paying for it later!

When the warmer weather arrives in the spring, I always crave fresh vegetables that are typically sparse in the winter. Even though you can get just about anything at market these days, you can always tell what produce is in season by how plump and vibrant it is! That is why this spring vegetable carbonara is a sweet spring treat!

The basil aioli is a lighter spin on pesto so you can enjoy the creaminess of carbonara with the bold flavors of fresh basil! Feel free to swap out other vegetables if they look fresher at the market! Enjoy!

Spring Vegetable & Basil Carbonara (serves 6-8)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, rubber band left on
  • 1 pound linguini
  • 1 cup Basil Aioli, recipe follows
  • 1 cup shaved pecorino
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Basil Aioli:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus (with rubber band on) and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool, about 5 minutes. Remove from the ice water, remove the rubber band, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Basil Aioli: Combine the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor and run the machine to mix. (you can use a blender or food processor) With the machine running slowly drizzle in the vegetable and olive oil. (Basil Aioli can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
  3. In another skillet add 2 tablespoons of butter and saute mushroom, zucchini, and pepper for 3-4 minutes, add tomatoes and peas and saute another 3-4 minutes until everything is tender. Add cut asparagus to mixture, toss and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the large pot of salted water used to cook the asparagus and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl. Add the Basil Aioli, veggies, shaved cheese, salt, and pepper. Garnish with additional shaved cheese and serve.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

 

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Giada De Laurentiis, Sundance & Linguine with Shrimp & Lemon Oil

photo-497It has been an fun and crazy 10 days here in Park City for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The town is bursting at the seams with movie goers, film makers and celebrities. I was lucky enough to meet one of my favorite cooks of all time, Giada De Laurentiis! photo-495She has been my cooking idol for longer than I can remember and her cookbook, ‘Giada’s Kitchen’ was the first cookbook I owned! My obsession with Italian food, especially pasta, might have something to do with my grandmother living in Italy but it can also be attributed to Giada’s amazingly delicious dishes!

This recipe for linguine with shrimp and lemon oil is a light and delicious twist on your traditional shrimp scampi. Tossed with fresh arugula and lemon zest this dish is sure to please everyone at the table! photo 5This recipe can be found in ‘Giada’s Kitchen’ cookbook, enjoy!

Ingredients: 
For the lemon oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces frozen shrimp
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
For the lemon oil:
Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
For the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until Al dente (tender but still firm to the bite) stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula.
  4. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded.
  5. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Garnish each plate with freshly grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Italian Vacation Pasta Primavera

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Ahh vacation! Sorry for the long absence in posts but I was eating my way through Italy last week. Italy is one of my favorite places on Earth- their world revolves around drinking cappuccinos, eating pasta, and drinking wine – all of my favorite things! photo-261Did I mention they have fantastic beaches? It was the perfect vacation to take my mind of the wedding planning which is now only 1 month away! photo-260 We had a whole week of visiting with my grandmother which was fantastic! We drank cappuccinos in the piazza every morning and made many meals in her little kitchen. photo-259While cooking in a kitchen with limited space makes me appreciate my American kitchen space- it also makes me realize that you don’t need much to make an amazing meal. Much of what we made and ate during our week were fresh veggies and lots of amazing cheeses and meats. photo-256Burrata is a kind of cheese that I believe has fallen from heaven. Its a type of buffalo mozzarella made with ricotta so the inside is soft and creamy and it melts in your mouth. For dinner one night I took this amazing cheese and did my own spin on one of my most favorite summer pasta dishes- pasta primavera! photo-255Another great thing about shopping in the open air markets in Italy… You can only get whats FRESH and in season. There was an abundance of leeks, zucchini, peppers, basil so I picked what looked good and threw it all together! It was fantastic! I hope you enjoy- we did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • Extra virgin olive – in the pan (two turns around the pan)
  • 1-2 large leeks (the white part only- chopped)
  • 1 large red pepper (Diced)
  • 1 medium zucchini and/or yellow summer squash
  • 1 small hand full of green onions (white parts and pale green chopped)
  • 1 box cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons/strips
  • 1 ball burrata cheese (or buffalo mozzarella cheese if you can’t find burrata)
  • Fresh linguine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil drizzled over pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions:
  1. Once pan is hot saute leeks, pepper and zucchini and green onions until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cherry tomatoes last and allow them to roast while all the veggies till tender.
  2. Use FRESH linguine like the Buitoni kind in the fridge section. Bring large pot of water to boil and add a pinch of salt and fresh pasta.
    Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and toss with butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Top with veggie saute and fresh basil leaves – they can be large pieces.
  4. Finally- add the BURRATA- on top. You can find it in most specialty cheese shops- Whole Foods usually has it too.
    Toss it all together and enjoy:)photo-258