Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Gourmet to the Rescue!
Oh wow, I've been shirking. Things have been super crazy lately, and I have all but abandoned this blog! Well, no longer. I'm back in the game and will be posting on a daily basis from now on if at all possible.
My brother has been in the hospital for going-on three weeks so Charlie and I have had a lot of company and a lot going on. This means I've been cooking quite a bit but relying on old stand-bys that I know are tasty and will please a crowd rather than experimenting with new recipes. I did make an exception on Monday for the Pasta in Garlic-Almond Sauce featured in April's issue of Gourmet magazine. I found it in the Every Day Quick Kitchen section of the magazine, and it intrigued me. What a find! True to Gourmet's promise it was quick and easy...also quite tasty and fresh! Here's the recipe:
Pasta In Garlic-Almond Sauce
3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (4 oz)
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup water
1 lb cavatappi or other small tubular pasta
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 (10-oz) package frozen peas
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional for serving
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup basil leaves (torn if large), divided
1/3 cup mint leaves (torn if large), divided
1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds (2 oz)
Puree blanched almonds and garlic with water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until almost al dente. Reserve 3 cups pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.
Meanwhile, heat oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably straight-sided) over medium heat until foam subsides. Add almond puree and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups reserved cooking water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp butter until melted. Add pasta and peas and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente (sauce will be thin), 2 to 3 minutes. Add cheese and lemon juice and stir until combined well. Remove from heat and stir in half of basil and mint and salt and pepper to taste. Serve in pasta bowls topped with chopped almonds, remaining herbs, and additional cheese.
Tasty, tasty! Everyone just loved this pasta. The almonds, garlic, mint, and basil work together to create a complex flavor that's still fresh and light. Also, it's very creamy without having a drop of milk or cream in it! I'm going to keep this recipe as a new stand-by quick dish for sure.
Charlie also thinks it's really good served cold as a pasta salad, but I prefer it hot and fresh out of the pan.