It’s upon us once again and as far as “made-up-good-for-little-just-a-sneaky-way-to-get-us-to-buy-greeting-cards” holidays go, this is probably my favorite. A holiday dedicated to LOVE (and chocolate) wins my vote every time.
For the first few years (in the 25 year plus adventure my babies’ daddy and I have been on) we tried to actually go “out” on Valentine’s Day. We eventually got tired of the long lines at theme parks and 2 hour waits for a table at the nearest chain restaurant and started staying home on February 14th and going out another night.
Since we had our brood we’ve tried to do a little “Love” themed dinner for the whole family on Valentine’s Day and I try to come up with something that maybe we don’t usually eat.
This is a challenge, since, 1) my family is vegetarian, 2) I don’t really have a large repertoire of things that I make, and D) I’m really not a fan of standing around in the kitchen cooking all day (and then cleaning up). So just about everything I make is fast and easy.
I took some inspiration from my aunt Margaret this summer (when she made us vegetarians a yummy Lemon Spaghetti – she really rocks in the kitchen…) and from Rachael Ray.
- 2 pounds spaghetti
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 4 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/2 cups milk & 2/3 cups melted butter)
- 2 cups finely shredded Italian Cheese blend (Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina and Asiago cheeses)
- 1 cup (20 or 24 leaves) fresh basil, very thinly sliced
- black pepper, freshly ground
Boil a large pot of salted water and drop in the spaghetti..
Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and cayenne pepper to a large skillet over medium heat.
When the pasta is about half done (about 5 minutes into cooking), add lemon juice, 2 cups of the starchy cooking water from the pasta and the cream (or milk/butter mixture) to the garlic and oil. Raise heat a bit to bring sauce to a bubble.
Cook the pasta al dente and then drain. Add lemon zest and half of the cheese to the sauce. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Add pasta to the sauce and turn off heat. Toss the pasta with sauce allowing it time to soak up the sauce. Mix in about 2/3 of the basil.
Garnish the plates of pasta or the serving dish with remaining cheese, and basil.
This is an excellent side dish or even great for an interesting addition to a potluck.