Thursday, May 7, 2009

Em's Lemon Spaghetti

Getting my kids into the kitchen and cooking with me is always a challenge. So imagine my pleasure and surprise when, while picking up a new deep fryer, my daughter selected a cookbook saying that she wanted it and wanted to try to make somethings out of it. Wow, talk about feeding two birds with one hand. I not only got my daughter showing some interest and initiative with cooking, but I also got another cookbook to add to my collection - too cool. After looking through a few additional books with her, she selected Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian, which was a great choice for both of us. It was the one book of hers that I didn't have and really wanted and for my daughter it presented a strong, beautiful woman at the top of the culinary world.

We sat down together and went through the recipes, talking about ingredients and levels of difficulty. The recipe that she selected for her first ever "take charge of everything" meal was De Laurentiis' "Lemon Spaghetti." The recipe is straightforward and incredibly easy, and I must say delicious. Em had fun making the pasta, we all had fun eating it and I truly think that my daughter gained some invaluable knowledge about her own abilities, her interest in food, the responsibilities of creating daily meals and how much her family values her efforts. I am including Giada De Laurentiis' recipe with the hopes that it's ease and great taste will inspire more first timers and seasoned foodies alike.

Lemon Spaghetti
from Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian

4 Main course servings or 6 Side dish servings.

2/3 cup Olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 pound dried spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, 3/4 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to blend. Set lemon sauce aside. (This sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook. stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bit, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the spaghetti to the lemon sauce and toss with the basil and lemon zest. Toss the pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season the pasta with more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowls and serve.

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