Daily Archives: 10 January 2020
Lately I feel like a hamster on a wheel, trying to keep abreast of Cook the Book Fridays bi-weekly recipe challenges. Sometimes I cook them on time. Sometimes I cook them late. More often than not, my blog posts have been monthly instead of recipe-by-recipe. Despite my best intentions, catchup has been the norm. It’s a new year, so I’m hoping that January represents more consistency on my part.
This week’s selection from Everyday Dorie is Pasta with Shrimp, Squash, Lemon and Lots of Herbs, or in my case, Pasta with Shrimp, Broccoli Rabe, Lemon and Lots of Herbs. This recipe has many components, but once your mise en place is set, the whole dish comes together quickly.
There are many steps, but they are all easy. First, you zest the lemons into the serving bowl. Then you juice the lemons. In an interesting twist, the spent halves are added to the pasta water to infuse further lemony flavor. While the pasta cooks, you sauté shrimp, then the vegetables. When the pasta is done, and drained, the shrimp and vegetables are tossed with the pasta along with butter, lemon juice, some reserved pasta water, and the tomatoes. Finally, the pasta is transferred to the serving bowl with the lemon zest and topped with fresh herbs and stirred together.
Dorie recommends using pasta that’s a similar size to the shrimp, so I chose mezze rigatoni. Howard has placed zucchini and summer squash on the “taboo” list at our house, plus they’re out of season, so I substituted broccoli rabe, which I cut into 2-inch lengths and blanched first. I also used a few tablespoons of diced sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh ones. For herbs, Dorie’s recipe lists dill and chives. I already had a mixture of chopped dill, parsley and minced garlic to garnish a fish soup I made, so I used up the rest to top the pasta.
I was worried that the zest of three lemons would be too much. However, we enjoyed the brightness that all aspects of the lemon contributed. Its flavor wasn’t dampened in the leftovers either. I found the proportion of vegetables lacking, so if I make this again, I’ll double them. I will also increase the amount of sun-dried tomatoes I add.
This recipe offers a nice template for a lemony pasta that can evolve through the seasons by varying the vegetables. With a salad, it makes a perfect dinner.
I also made the Sweet and Smoky Roasted Carrots from last month’s schedule. I first made them for Thanksgiving 2018, right after Everyday Dorie was published. At the time, I felt ambivalent about them and particularly didn’t like the whole carrots because they took too long to cook through. I made a note to try cutting the carrots into 1-inch pieces, which is what I did this time around. While the carrots roasted in a more reasonable amount of time, I’m still ambivalent about them. With all the spices and flavorings, they should taste more interesting. Unfortunately, it falls flat on my taste buds. I won’t be making these carrots again. However, I still have some of the spice syrup left, so I’ll test that out on salad or in mayo and see if that works better for me.
If you’re up for trying either of these recipes, you can find the pasta on page 204 and the carrots on page 214 of Everyday Dorie. To see what the other cooks from Cook the Book Fridays thought of these, you can find links to their reviews here for the pasta and here for the carrots.
Happy New Year! Happy Cooking!