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This is a perfect mid-week pasta dish that is light enough to eat even in the height of summer. The key here is to use the freshest and best ingredients you can get – good olive oil and spaghetti along with fresh herbs and garlic will make all the difference! Serve along with a nice dry pinot blanc or rosé and you have simple supper perfection!

dl_acken_photography_0407Serves 4

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and toss, adding a little of the pasta water, until the spaghetti is thoroughly coated.

Remove the pan from heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor, adding more salt if necessary. Add the lemon juice, garnish with more Parmesan and serve with lemon wedges and crushed red pepper.

Fresh, D.I.Y. ricotta is all the rage right now and it’s no wonder! It couldn’t be simpler to make and the results are infinitely better than the store bought variety. I love to spread it on toasted bread but it’s also great as a base for tarts and other sweet treats. To add some extra flavour, add fresh herbs, a spoonful of pesto or tapenade and serve as a dip with your favourite flavour of raincoast crisps and grilled rustic baguette slices. The ricotta will keep atleast 4 days in the fridge.

dl_acken_photography_0403Makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Line a large sieve with 2 layers of wet cheesecloth.

Bring the cream and milk and salt to a full boil in a heavy based saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar: allow the milk mixture curdle which will take 1 – 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined sieve and let sit at room temparture for  20-30 minutes. The whey will drain from the mixture and you will be left with ricotta. Transfer to another bowl throw away the whey and cheesecloth: cover the ricotta and refrigerate until ready to use.

Did you know May is National Salsa? Salsa fresca and guacamole are a natural pair and we just can’t have one without the other. The tea smoked salsa fresca will take you a few minutes more and, opposite to the guacamole, is actually better when the flavours have time to blend and marry. And don’t be daunted by the idea of smoking the tomatoes, once you’ve done it you’ll be hooked – it’s super easy to do at home and lends so much flavour to the final product.

Fresh guacamole just can not be beat, and it also couldn’t be easier. The trick here is to make it just moments before serving to let the freshness of each flavour stand out – it takes less than five minutes to chop and mix together. Compared to even the best store-bought variety we’re sure you’ll agree this is better.

Guacamole

  • Homemade Pico De Gallo Salsa and Chips1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 minced jalapeños
  • 2 large avocados
  • 2 fresh plum tomatoes, gutted and finely minced

Mash the avocados with a fork or a potato masher. Add all other ingredients. Adjust seasoning.

Tea Smoked Salsa Fresca

  • 10 fresh plum tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. loose Darjeeling tea
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 4 jalapeños with seeds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Place loose tea in a dry sauté pan and heat to medium high heat. Fit a small wire cake rack over top and place half of the tomatoes on the rack, cover tightly with a lid and smoke for 5 minutes. Cool tomatoes and then gut and chop into medium sized chunks.

Add the cilantro, lime juice, jalapeños, red onion, and olive oil to the chopped tomatoes. Mix together and season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate until needed.

Contest Chef - May 31, 2015 - 4:42 am

Your blog is impressive, thanks to the quality of your recipes & other content. We would be glad if you would participate on Contestchef so that your quality recipes can contest with other such bloggers/ recipe creators and win accolades from various players in the global food industry.

Contestchef is a global forum for food/ recipe bloggers to showcase their skills to the world. This is a one of a kind concept and backed by food conglomerates around the world. Several recipe creators/bloggers are already contesting on Contestchef.
Click to join http://www.contestchef.com
Sincerely,
Nandy
Contestchef

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