Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes |

This is a heavily modified version of my signature pasta recipe. I've never managed to write down the ingredient measurements for the original dish--mostly because I always add them by hand and adjust by taste. 

Even now in this adapted version, I won't provide strict guidelines for using the dried herbs. I urge you to sprinkle, taste, and adjust to your liking. Or, make substitutions based on what's in your pantry and fridge. 

Although, I must point out that the lemon juice and dried oregano are key flavors.

This particular pasta recipe was born out of necessity. 

Last weekend I picked up several varieties of fresh produce at my local farmer's market and the heirloom cherry tomatoes were already super ripe two days later.

And I managed to snag a pound of locally made lemon pepper linguine at the market, so decided to combine the two.

Plus, pasta is an easy meal to make on a Monday night. I was feeling particularly lazy.

This Led Me to One Important Discovery

FRESH PASTA (even if it's dried already) is one thousand million bazillion times better than the regular ol' commercial variety you get from the grocery store. The flavor and texture are vastly superior. 

Even better, after eating a whole huge bowl, I did not go into a carb coma. You know, that overly full and sleepy feeling? Color me amazed.

A Lighter Version of the Original

My original pasta recipe calls for heavy cream, wine, and fresh mozzarella cheese. I had none of these on hand, so planned on making a vegan version instead. 

However, I found a lonely slab of Parmesan cheese sitting in the back of my cheese drawer, so I dusted the pasta with that particular cheese at the end. 

If there's something in your fridge that needs using up, experiment! 

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
An easy pasta recipe with linguine, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, full-fat coconut milk, pasta sauce, and dried herbs. Top with Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. Even better, you can make this in 30 minutes or less and it's meat lover approved.
Serves: 2-4 (add a side salad to make it stretch)

1 tablespoon of olive oil + extra for drizzling (I used THIS)
1/2 a yellow onion, diced finely
1 pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/8-1/4 cup of full fat milk (I recommend canned coconut milk or heavy cream)
1/4-1/2 cup of pasta sauce
Dried oregano, to taste (I recommend at least 2 teaspoons)
Dried Italian seasoning, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste (I use THIS)
1/4 lb of dried pasta (I used lemon pepper linguine & cooked it separately)
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional) 

Note: Add more or less milk and pasta sauce depending on how saucy you want the final dish. If you like it really saucy, just add more seasonings to compensate as you add more milk & tomato sauce.

-I encourage using organic and/or local ingredients whenever possible.

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet
stainless steel tongs
cheese grater

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First, get a pot of water boiling on the stove and cook the pasta while you're working on the sauce. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and while that's heating up, peel and chop the onion. Toss the onion into the skillet, give it a stir and cook for 5-10 minutes or until they start to turn golden. 

Now's a good time to slice your tomatoes in half if they're large or you're wanting to use less (I left mine whole) and mince the garlic. When the onions are ready, toss in the tomatoes and cook 3-5 minutes, or a few minutes longer if they're not very ripe. 

Add the oregano, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, black pepper and sea salt. Stir in the garlic, cook 30 seconds (don't let it burn), then squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir everything, cook for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the coconut milk and pasta sauce. Let the sauce come to a slow simmer and reduce heat if necessary. 

Taste and adjust seasonings/ingredients as necessary. (More often than not, I add extra oregano, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in this stage, but that's up to your palate.) 

Let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes, then once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the skillet, toss with tongs and top with Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional). Plate the pasta and then drizzle the top of each portion with your best olive oil!

Other Add-In Ideas: Chopped Fresh Herbs, Fresh Cubed or Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, White White or Red Wine, Stock (Chicken or Veggie)

Notes & Tips
If you're using fresh herbs in the sauce instead of dried, you may need to add twice as much since the flavors are less potent.

More Recipes From The Rising Spoon:

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Creamy Lemon Pasta with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes |

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