Recipe: fabulous lemon spaghetti

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Right now we have normal Spring weather in London (as one would expect in May), but when I made this lemony pasta for the book club girls we had summer temperatures in April (!). If it hadn’t been so windy, I would have liked to eat outside but indoors had to do.

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Because of the nice weather I wanted to make something summery, but more filling than a salad, so when my colleague suggested this River Café recipe I had a hunch it would be perfect.

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And it was!

Looking at the ingredients list it might seem like a heavy dish but the acidity from the lemon makes it appear as light as air (well almost). It’s so fresh and really tastes of summer. So much so that it’s easy to dream of Mediterranean holidays…

But back to London and reality. The pasta went down a treat (everybody had seconds) and Mary-Louise even asked for the recipe. She has since reported back that she made it twice in one weekend and that it works just as well with the pasta shape bucatini. Thank you M-L!

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Lemon spaghetti with Parmesan and basil, serves 6

Adapted from River Café’s recipe.

250 g spaghetti

juice of 3-4 lemons, preferably Amalfi lemons

150 ml olive oil

150 g Parmesan, freshly grated

2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped

finely grated lemon zest 

Cook the spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan; it will melt into the mixture, making it thick and creamy. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the spaghetti and shake the pan so that each strand of pasta is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and some grated lemon zest.

 

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Burrata with slow roasted tomatoes

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I love burrata, the creamier cousin of mozzarella,  a lot  but I struggle to find it in Sweden. I’m sure they have it in some of Malmö’s better cheese shops but I thought it easier to bring a fresh one with me from my local Whole Foods.

We had it as a starter one evening soon after arrived to Sweden, together with slow roasted tomatoes, a nice olive oil, grilled bread and a bowl of buttery nocellara olives.

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It almost felt like we were by the Mediterranean; being sat outside, next to a fig tree, sipping rosé and eating the creamy burrata with slow roasted tomatoes. Such a lovely evening.

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Slow roasted tomatoes, serves 3 as a starter

150-200 g small tomatoes, halved

1 clove of garlic, sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

some chopped basil

a splash of olive oil 

salt, black pepper

fresh basil to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 125C. Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in an oven-proof tray. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and stir so the oil coats everything evenly. Place in the oven and leave for 2-3 hours. Remove the (now brown) basil from the tray. Plate the rest, garnish with fresh basil leaves and a good splash or olive oil. 

Scallops with pea purée and basil sauce

I manged with a themed dinner on Friday, a bit unintentionally. When I was standing in the kitchen making bruschetta and the basil scent overpowered the kitchen it hit me that peas and basil would be great together. And they were. I flavoured the pea purée only slightly with some pesto but the cold basil sauce had more of a punch to it, and to put a dollop of this and put it on top of the mash and let it melt is truly heaven. Serve with panfried juicy scallops and you have a wonderful and healthy meal. Pair with a glass (or two) of rosé and enjoy a warm summer evening.

Try this, ok? I beg of you.

Scallops with pea purée and basil sauce, serves 2

8 large scallops

1/2 lemon, the juice

a knob of butter for frying

400 g frozen petit pois

3 tbsp butter

2 tsp pesto

salt, white pepper

The sauce:

150 ml creme fraiche

1/2 lemon, the juice

1/3 bunch basil

salt, white pepper

Mix the ingredients for the sauce with a stick blender. Cut the muscle off the scallops and place the scallops in a bowl, squirt lemon juice over. Cover the peas with boiling water and cook for a few minutes.  Drain and purée with a stick blender. Add butter and pesto, season to taste with salt and pepper. Klicka i smöret och peston, mixa igen. Smaka av med salt och peppar. While the peas are cooking, fry the scallops on high heat for a few minutes on each side, in plenty of butter. Season. 

A reminder: Bruschetta

I came down with a terrible cold on Sunday. Just bam it hit me, and I got the lot; sore throat, runny nose, fever… At least it broke out quickly and the recovery seem pretty quick as well. Fever is gone, I’m back at work and my taste sensation has come back as well. Yay!

Before this hit me, on Friday we had a lovely little basil-themed dinner. It just happened like that and it was really nice! We had one of my favourite starters to begin with – bruschetta. It is best this time of year when the tomatoes taste like they should, full of sun and happiness. Paired with lots of basil, some garlic and nice crusty bread this is a winner every time. I just wanted to remind you of that.

Bruschetta, serves 2 as quite a large starter

6 largeish pieces of ciabatta

4-6 medium tomatoes

a handful of basil, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, pressed

salt, pepper

Chop the tomatoes wuite finely and put it into a sieve to get rid of the excess water. Transfer to a bowl, add basil, pressed garlic, olive oil and spices.

Place the bread pieces on an oven tray and pour garlic on them. Rub the recently used garlic press over the bread to give it a hint of garlic. Roast in 200C oven for about 5 minutes (or until crusty on top).

Place generous spoonfuls of the tomato mixture on each piece of bread. Serve immediately – with napkins.