Good morning all of you invisible readers!
This morning I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in, to really just relax and nod off. Unfortunately, my upstairs neighbor decided today was cleaning day and has been shoving chairs and vacuums all over their floor, dropping spoons and forks (which has a very distinct sound), and slamming closet doors.
Then they do that thing where they leave the vacuum in one spot, presumably to move furniture, and it makes that horribly monotonous, droning sound... literally sucking the life out of the floor. Needless to say, It hasn't been the most tranquil of mornings.
Since I am an optimist, I have more hope for my day. I know that soon old man Gonzales' family (the ones who come clean for him) will leave and we will all have our quiet peace again. Even my kitty seems perturbed.
When I want to really relax, I start thinking about what I have in my pantry cabinets. What can I make today? Do I have enough eggs? Where are my vanilla beans? Questions that probably only I ask myself. This week I made Angel Hair Pasta with Chile Lemon Arugula. It was inspired. When I squeezed the last bit of lemon juice over the pot of pasta, I set a place down in front of my husband, Luis, and watched him eat. (Creepy, perhaps... But I like to see the honesty of the first few bites). He didn't finish his plate without uttering a few moans, some satisfied groans, and finally declaring me "an amazing cook". Luis doesn't sugar coat anything: if he didn't like something, he doesn't pretend that he did. His philosophy is simple: if I think he likes it, I'll make it again, so if he doesn't want to eat it again, he doesn't tell me that he does. Crazy, right?? I'm kidding :)
I was surprised by how much I liked this recipe. I'm more of a tomato-sauce person. I like everything to be saucy, flavorful, and robust. But sometimes you need to take a minimalist approach to pasta. It's amazing how little seasoning you need to add to make something zesty. I came across this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Shutterbean. Check her out- her food is amazing, and she posts really inspiring home decorating and organizing tips.
You can find the original recipe here, but I tweaked it and rearranged a few things.
It's always recommended to have all of your ingredients right out where you can see them. That way, you won't accidentally miss a step, or waste time digging through cabinets when it comes time to add something.
Yummy, crumbly bread crumbs! Golden brown and fried to perfection.
Infusing the oil with garlic and red pepper flakes give this dish a surprising kick. Don't be scared- I hate spicy food. It often doesn't sit with me. This spice is very potable and enjoyable.
Angel Hair Pasta with Chile Lemon Arugula
1/3 cup of olive oil and 8 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 8oz. box of panko bread crumbs
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Lemon juice and zest
1 box of angel hair pasta (about a pound)
6 cups of arugula
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, for serving
In a large saute pan, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil and all of the bread crumbs. Stir to combine oil with crumbs over medium heat. If you need to add more oil to coat the crumbs, that's fine. Stir continuously until all of the bread crumbs turn golden brown, season with salt and pepper and transfer crumb mixture to a bowl; save for later.
In the same pan, combine 8 tablespoons of oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes over low heat. Saute ingredients until the oil has turned an orange color, stir in lemon zest and remove from heat. This was my favorite part, my kitchen smelled so good!
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 7 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Drain pasta. You can either transfer pasta to a large serving bowl or put it right back in the pot. Since I'm usually just cooking for Luis and me, I put it back into the pot. Immediately add the arugula, the infused oil, and the bread crumbs. Stir everything together. I found that a wooden spoon was most successful in mixing it all together.
Serve by squeezing lemon juice over the dish and add desired amount of Parmesan cheese. Bon appetit!