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It’s bright and sunny out, today anyway, so it makes me think of all the great fresh flavors that we have to look forward to this spring and summer. One of my favorite pasta dishes has a great creamy lemon sauce that brightens all of the flavors of the veggies (and shrimp or chicken if you choose) and just feels like you’re eating a bit of sunshine! It’s packed with loads of vitamins along with the great greens and veggies that you’ll add, so who knows, maybe you’ll even get the kiddos to eat it!!
Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
(This recipe was originally vegetarian, but feel free to make it your own with chicken, shrimp or even crab)
I tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
2 lemons, zested
Kosher Salt and pepper
1 bunch broccoli
1 lb. dried fusilli (corkscrew pasta)
1/2 lb. baby arugula (or baby spinach works too)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
OPTIONAL – Cooked chicken breast, cubed OR cooked large shrimp, cut into bite sized pieces. (If you really want to get fancy, lobster or crab meat would be fantastic too!) I roast large shrimp in the oven seasoned with S&P and olive oil for a few minutes, it’s a delicious addition!
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, zest from 2 lemons, juice from 2 lemons, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in bite sized florets. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3-5 minutes, until tender but still a bit firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add 1 tbsp of salt and the pasta, cook according to directions, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium heat for 3 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb most of the cream. Pour the hot pasta in a LARGE bowl, add the arugula or spinach (it looks like a ton, but it will wilt down), parmesan, tomatoes and cooked broccoli. Toss well and serve hot.
Enjoy your spring AND your pasta!