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    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Let's Go Eat Italian

    The camera took this shot by mistake. I love the colour of the tomatoes signs of Summer…Hooray.

    We were losing a valued member of staff Kerry.
    He is going on to better things and we wish him well, but will miss him.
    So a farewell lunch for Kerry was planned. I hadn’t made a staff lunch for ages…it was long overdue.
    Of course we still have a couple of people to take into consideration when planning lunch. There is a dairy problem.
    So I made 2 pasta dishes. One containing heaps of dairy and the other none.

    Mrs. Ina Garten was the inspiration for this one and it was fabulous

    Lemon and Broccoli Cream Pasta
    1 tablespoon good olive oil
    1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
    2 cups heavy cream
    3 lemons
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 bunch broccoli
    500 gms dried Fusilli pasta
    200 gms baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
    ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
    1 punnet grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


    Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat,
    Add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds.
    Add the cream, 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 it starts to thicken.

    Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem.
    Cook the florets in a big pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm.
    Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
    Set aside.
    I used the same pot and water to cook the pasta
    Bring it back to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and
    cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes,
    stirring occasionally.
    Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot.

    Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta.
    Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli.
    Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it ¼ inch thick crosswise, and
    Add it to the pasta.
    Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.
    This was so good I repeated it last Saturday for lunch with a group of old friends.
    A wonderful lunch with wonderful friends.
    Terry and Barb (below) were in Auckland for the weekend from Wellington.
    We all lived there in the past. That’s what I mean by old friends not age, but time.

    There was Pete
    Elphie his wife
    And our dear friend Catherine (pictured being greeted by Terry) and popping up in most photos (dressed in the virginal white) the lovely Dale.
    Meanwhile we have turned our friends Pete and Elphie onto The Divine Marcella Hazan.

    So Pete made this wonderful Scallop dish for our starter.
    Unfortunately I didn’t have a photo but this is how you make it.
    Very simple.

    Sautéed Scallops and Mushrooms
    For 4 people
    500 gms firm fresh mushrooms
    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped shallots
    1 tablespoon garlic chopped
    Sea salt
    ½ cup dry white wine
    500 gms scallops
    1 teaspoon chopped dried hot pepper or 2 teaspoons of fresh hot pepper
    3 tablespoons chopped parsley

    In a large sauté pan add 5 tablespoons of oil
    Turn heat to high add shallots and cook till golden brown
    Add garlic and when that is golden
    Add mushrooms
    Turn down the heat
    Add salt and cover the pan.
    As you stir from time to time you will find that the mushrooms throw off some liquid
    After 15 minutes uncover the pan and
    Turn up the heat to medium heat to evaporate the liquid.
    Then add white wine
    Cook stirring until the wine has also evaporated and the only liquid in the pan is olive oil.

    Rinse the scallops in cold water and pat dry thoroughly
    Put them into the pan with hot freshly ground black pepper and parsley.
    Add a little m ore salt.
    Turn up the heat to high and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently
    Serve piping hot.
    Great with crunchy bread.

    Our friend Catherine supplied dessert
    Once again very simple and delicious.
    She made the lemon curd but you could buy it..

    Little Filo Pastry Cases filled with Lemon Curd topped with Strawberries and Cream
    She also supplied the beautiful Whisky Chocolate Fudge.
    That is just fabulous.
    Now back to the staff lunch. Here is the non dairy dish

    Giada de Laurentis supplied this recipe. It also was stunning
    Lemon Prawn Pasta

    For the lemon oil:

    ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 lemon, zested

    Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and reserve.

    For the pasta:

    500 gms linguine pasta
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 shallots, diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    500 gms frozen shrimp
    ¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
    1 lemon, zested
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    100 gms arugula (about 3 packed cups)
    ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    For the pasta:

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
    Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat.
    Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
    Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.
    Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
    Toss to combine.
    Turn off the heat and add the arugula.
    Add the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta.
    (You can strain out the zest but I like it to remain.)

    Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine.

    Serve immediately.
    Some of our lot tucking in.
    Bye Kerry we shall miss you.

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