Sunday, 13 April 2014

Summery Delight – Pesto Pasta and Preserved Lemon Salad

The summer is here, and I am more than unhappy for its arrival. It’s hot, humid, sticky and not fun at all. And with summers, the appetite too has gone down which for a recipe developer like me is the worst thing possible! But, how much so ever you crib, it’s a fact of life that we can’t change. And so here is my summery meal, which is fast and cold and perfect with a chilled glass of white wine!

With summers, I also have another problem! You just don’t feel like working out; or doing anything that makes you sweat. Cooking too is a chore that you want to get finished with fast. And to top that, when it’s that sweaty; an average Indian wife/mother/cook would be slaving it off on the stove with direct heat on. I don't only think that's unhealthy, but a torture as well. So I have decided on doing a few dishes that are easy, micro-waved and baked, using minimal stove top. So, all my next posts would be about using electricity wisely in kitchen!!

For today, it’s a non baked, simple meal of Preserved lemon Salad with Pesto Spaghetti and Grilled Prawns


For the salad:
Preserved Lemon- I used home-made, where I sliced the lemons and cured it in with table salt and sugar. I followed this recipe, here.
Sun dried tomato
Fresh tomato
Chop it all in little cubes. You may very well use a chopper for this!

Take 2 tbsp of the syrup of preserved lemon and mix it well with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Add some fresh ground black pepper, and the vinaigrette is made!
Mix all the chopped veggies with the vinaigrette and serve chilled; garnished with fresh cilantro!

For the Pasta:
Boil a pack of whole wheat spaghetti according to the instructions given on the pack. Salt the boiling water well so that we dont loose out on the flavour!

For the sauce:
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 clove of garlic
2 green chillies
1 lemon grass stalk/ grated lemon peel
Handful of almonds
¼ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Few drops of water, if required
Salt and pepper to taste

Grind fresh basil leaves, garlic and green chilly to a paste. Chop a good chunk of lemon grass (soft –whitish part) and add it to the basil paste; blitz it again to puree.

Add a handful of almonds and blitz on a high speed till all get to a paste. If you need water, add a few drops at a time. Remember a few drops of water were stuck on the fresh leaves before it was blitz and the almonds will soon release some oil too. So add water stingily!

Once you are happy with the texture, add the EVO, and whisk it well in the pesto.  Salt it to taste.

Now combine the boiled spaghetti with Pesto, and let the sauce cling on to the pasta! Use the starchy pasta water to get the sauce and spaghetti to your desired consistency!

Serve it with grilled shrimps or prawns! And it’s a beautiful summer meal, made in minutes!!

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