It’s been awhile since I’ve featured a recipe on this blog and, since warmer weather is finally here, I thought I’d share one of my favorite springtime meals. I first had this dish a few years ago when a friend made it for me from her Barefoot Contessa cookbook. I have made it several times since, and have modified it slightly to lighten it up. Though it is still by no means a diet dish (nothing dreamed up by the Contessa is), it tastes light and has less fat than Ina’s version. This pasta dish also tastes great leftover, even if served cold.
LEMON FUSILLI WITH ARUGULA
Modified from a recipe by Ina Garten
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups half & half
- 3 lemons
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch broccoli
- 1 pound dried fusilli pasta (they look like little curly-cues)
- 1/2 pound baby arugula, with any tough stems removed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the half & half, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Blanch the florets in boiling, salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and submerge in ice water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the sauce mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, butter, and cooked broccoli, stirring until combined. Transfer the pasta mixture to a large bowl. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise (remove and discard any seeds), and add the thin slices to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.