How many times do you come home pooped, cranky and starved, only to peer into a half-empty fridge and wonder what in the world you can eat to make you feel a whole lot better fast?
“Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic” will do the trick.
Especially if you keep a handy-dandy jar of home-made preserved lemons in your fridge at all times like me. Which you should.
Particularly if you grow your own little pot of rosemary. Which you ought — because it comes in so handy.
And most readily, if you keep a stash of already roasted garlic in your fridge or freezer. Which you need to promise yourself you’ll do, because you’ll use it for so many things, including the tastiest garlic bread on the fly.
The pasta recipe is from “The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes For Cooking With Pleasure” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.
The cookbook is by Alana Chernila, a Massachusetts food writer and cooking teacher who blogs at EatingFromTheGroundUp.
Her 150 recipes are homey and comforting, and made with good-for-you ingredients. There’s her “Ricotta Mousse Trick” (a dessert that comes together in the blink of an eye), “Kefir Banana Cake” (made with spelt flour, maple syrup and chocolate chips), “Rye Bread” (made with pickle juice).
This pasta dish exudes bold and satisfying flavor, which will surprise you given how few ingredients it uses.
The secret is mashing preserved lemons, roasted garlic and fresh rosemary together to create a paste of concentrated deliciousness.
After cooking the pasta, the recipe directed to “drain and rinse the pasta.” I omitted the rinsing, as I don’t think it’s necessary.
Toss the cooked pasta in that lemon-garlic mixture, along with a little of its starchy cooking water, a handful of Parmesan, fresh chopped parsley, and a shower of black pepper. That’s it.
Twirl a forkful and take a taste. It’s not salty at all. Instead, it tastes deeply of sweet, caramelized garlic, musky lemon, and fresh herbs. The cheese adds a slight creaminess to the whole dish.
Cranky? Pooped? You won’t be after inhaling this.
Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic
1 pound store-bought fettuccine or 1 1/4 pounds homemade
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Heaping 1/3 cup coarsely chopped preserved lemon (about 1 lemon), rinsed before chopping
1/4 cup mashed roasted garlic, about 2 heads (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the fettuccine until tender, 7 to 10 minutes for dried, or 2 minutes for fresh. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the preserved lemon, roasted garlic, and rosemary, smashing and stirring them all together in a thick relish. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce melts together, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and scoop the garlic mixture over the pasta. Sprinkle the cheese over the bowl, then pour about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water over the top. Stir gently to melt the cheese and coat the pasta in the sauce. Add more water if the sauce seems too thick. Top with parsley and lots of fresh pepper.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the loose outer paper of each head of garlic, and using strong scissors or a knife, chop off just enough from the top of each head to expose the naked cloves. Wrap a small piece of foil around each head like a gift, leaving the top open, and place in the cups of a muffin tin or on a small baking pan. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over each head, then seal the foil so it creates a tight package.
Roast until the cloves are soft and ooze out of their skins, 45 minutes to an hour. Roasted garlic keeps well in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. To freeze it, remove the cloves from their skins and freeze on a baking sheet. Transfer to a freezer bag and store for 6 to 8 months.
Adapted From “The Homemade Kitchen” by Alana Chernila
And What To Do With Preserved Lemons: Savory Braised Oxtail with Preserved Lemon Polenta by Ming Tsai