Wednesday, January 10, 2007
When Life give you Lemons
So... I've been on a quest to try to improve my skills at cooking Italian food. It's a little embarassing to admit that my father's family is from Northern Italy, and my mother's family is from Sicily, and I'll be damned if cooking Italian somehow just doesn't seem to come naturally to me. I fear I will be struck down if I even utter the words out loud! But there, now I have.
You see, I can make salsa that'd impress you and maybe even your Mom, or a mean Thai curry that'll leave you dying for more. My friend Adam says he dreams of my chicken tacos in tomatillo sauce. But damnit! My Italian food attempts are SO hit or miss! It's like playing the slot machines for god's sake.
So this evening, I thought I'd try a new recipe for "Savory Lemon Pasta" that I found on Italian Food Forever. The basic idea is this: combine fresh garlic and parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice, and toasted pine nuts. Toss it all with olive oil and pasta. But shit, the recipe called for the zest and juice of 2 whole lemons! It seemed excessive. It seemed like it was going to be overkill. But I thought to myself "just follow the damn recipe, little miss you wish you knew everything"! I mean, how the hell am I going to become a good Italian chef if I think I know more than the recipes?
So, I followed the recipe, sort of. Sauteed some garlic very lightly in olive oil and then transferred it to a bowl with some chopped parsley, salt, olive oil, and the zest and juice of two lemons. Threw in about 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts, and eventually added the pasta and a wee bit of the hot water that was used to cook the pasta.
Consistency was lovely. Presentation was mighty fine. But DAMN was it lemony! Yes folks, there is absolutely such a thing as too much of a good thing. You don't want to pucker when you eat your pasta, now do you? NO! So I say, first follow your instinct. And second, don't go overboard on the lemons.
Miss NoNo and I added LOTS of parmesan cheese, fresh ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to try to balance it out. It helped. It helped enough for me to eat 2 large helpings, but still... next time I'm gonna be super conservative w/ my lemons. And you should do the same.
Ok. Just cause life presents lemons, doesn't mean you have to use them to excess.