Wow…what a crazy week this has been. I apologize for the delay in this week’s blog but the week got away from me! Steve and I took a much needed three-day weekend and went to San Diego to see a concert, buy succulents, relax and read. I had every intention of cooking a fabulous meal seaside as the sun set, I even packed a large bag full of fresh produce from my CSA and a handful of recipes but those plans didn’t quite pan out.
You see, Steve and I have a weakness for eating out in San Diego. There is something about the trendy little cafes, ethnic take-out food and seasonal high-end dining that sucks us in every time we go. We drove in Saturday morning and stopped at our favorite sidewalk cafe, Zinc ordered two sandwiches and a giant slice of pound cake layered with fresh berries and homemade whip cream…. the cake of course was Steve’s doing but if you saw this giant piece of heaven you would have done the same thing. That night we ordered the most expensive take out Indian food I’ve ever seen but it was worth it. I also have a weakness for Tikka Masla and Garlic Naan bread. We didn’t stop there though. For breakfast we walked down the street to the Naked Cafe and I practically drooled all over myself at the table trying to decide what to eat. My wonderful husband actually told me to order for the both of us because he could see how excited I was to try everything – but then had to curb my order because I think I was literally trying to order everything. After sipping on my $2 fair-trade organic coffee I decided on baked coconut french toast, blueberry pancakes and an artichoke heart and pesto quesadilla. Everything was out of this world. See for yourself here. And stay tuned because I’m determined to recreate and share the quesadilla recipe because it was fantastic!
Now that I’ve led you completely off track…let’s get on to today’s culinary adventure. Like I said earlier this has been a crazy week and we have had very little time to cook so our meals have consisted of leftovers and one very nice night out with Steve’s colleagues at Little Buddha. I was stressing all week about what to make and share with you all when I remembered a recipe that my wonderful sister-in-law, Linda, sent me last week.
Pasta with asparagus, spinach, garbanzos beans, toasted pine nuts, lemon oil and the undisputed king of cheeses, Parmesan Reggiano. And I have three words for it. EASY. HEALTHY. DELICIOUS. It took all of thirty minutes to chop the ingredients, sauté them and toss them with pasta, oil and cheese. The creaminess of the garbanzos beans and the crunchiness of the asparagus were really brightened with the lemon olive oil and the pine nuts and Parmesan brought a subtle richness to the dish.
I had some fresh pasta in the fridge from earlier in the week (we’ll have a lesson on homemade pasta another day. it is something that I cannot live without.) but you can use whole wheat penne and the results will be just a good. If you don’t have lemon oil, just use regular olive oil and add lemon zest and little juice and you’ll get the same effect. I also can’t stress enough the importance of good quality Parmesan cheese. It is expensive but it is worth it. We buy a large wedge of it from Costco for about $20 and it lasts us for a couple of months. Look for the stamped rind on the cheese. That’s when you know it’s the real deal.
Ok – I’ve gone on long enough. Please enjoy.
Linda’s Lemon Pasta with Garbanzos and Asparagus
Serves 2 with leftovers
Total cook and prep time: 30 minutes
1/2 lb whole wheat penne pasta or fresh pasta
1/4 yellow or white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves mined
1 can organic garbanzo beans. drained and rinsed
5 (or so) spears of asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large handfuls (about 1/2 lb) spinach sliced into 1 inch strips
2 tablespoons pine nuts – toasted
Lemon olive oil + zest of half a lemon
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile in a saucepan over medium – high heat, sauté onions and garlic in regular olive oil until tender and just golden. In another small pan toast your pine nuts. It should only take a couple of minutes and watch them closely because those little suckers burn quick! Add garbanzos to the onions and sauté for a minute or two. Add spinach and asparagus to sauté pan, and cook until bright green.
Toss in pasta and drizzle with a lemon olive oil and lemon zest. Serve with fresh Parmesan.