The best advice I've ever received when it came to cooking, is go to the store and make your list based on the produce and meats that look best. I continue to take this approach with me every week as I navigate the market in search of dinner ideas. Not only does this mean we don't get stuck in a dinner rut, but it also means that we are getting fresh food and more flavour as a result. Utilizing quality ingredients, not overcomplicating things, and cooking with the freshest foods you can find, yields some pretty delicious meals too, if I do say so myself.
Aside from letting the produce dictate how we eat, I also follow another rule in the kitchen, meat-free once a week. It's not always a Monday (as social media likes to drill into our heads) but it does typically involve a pasta dish, and I'm okay with that, as long as it’s accompanied by a slice of garlic bread.
Because it's officially springtime, this dinner of lemon linguine w/ fried capers seems appropriate and best yet, comes together in minutes, because let’s face it we'd all rather be outside. Fresh linguine, an easy sauce and fried capers take this simple weekday meal up a notch. It comes together effortlessly and still delivers a great flavour.
Lemon Linguine w/ Fried Capers
1 pound fresh linguine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping (optional)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons capers, fried (see below)
1) Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions unit tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
2) Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, Parmesan and lemon zest and juice in a large bowl to blend
Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce and reserved cooking liquid, adding it 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten.
3) Season with salt and pepper; stir in the basil, and garnish with fried capers and more Parmesan, if desired.
How to Fry Capers
1) Drain, rinse and dry the capers very well. heat 1/4 inch vegetable oil in a small straight sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
2) Add the capers and fry for about 2 minutes, or until they have popped open and are golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis & food network magazine.
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