Monday, January 7, 2008
Cooking for friends
I always enjoy cooking for friends and Friday night I got another chance to try a new recipe, linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil. Ryan and I were going to cook for our friends but he came down with a bad cold (that I now have, thanks Ryan) so I went over to my friend Mo's to cook at her place for her, JJ, Mary and Mary's friend Eric who was visiting for the weekend.
This is actually a recipe my mom made for Ryan and I over the holidays and it's a meal she whips up for her and my dad all of the time. We also made panaconzata which I think we have mentioned in other posts, it is a wonderful Italian garlic bread that we have at Ryan's family gatherings.
To start, I put Mary to work making the panaconzata. For how tasty this bread it, it is surprisingly very simple and easy to make. Mary started by taking a loaf of Italian bread and slicing it horizontally (like a sub sandwich) and scoring the bread. After scoring the bread, she drizzled olive oil on each side and added salt and pepper and all kinds of spices including parsley, oregano and a little bit of crushed red pepper. The great thing about panaconzata is that you can add whatever you want, like sun dried tomatoes or fresh basil. Then she added shredded mozzarella cheese to each side of the bread and put the bread back together and wrapped it in foil. It's as easy as that! Then you pop it in the oven at 425 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Here is Mary enthusiastically making garlic bread:
While Mary was making the garlic bread, I got busy making the lemon oil which is very easy, just zest 1/2 a lemon and add 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the bowl and let sit (you'll add it to the pasta at the end). I also put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil for the pasta. Now, the recipe (which is copied below) calls for shallots but I used the red onion I had instead. So I began by sauteing onion in a large pan and salting the onions to bring out their moisture. Once the onions have cooked for a little bit I added some garlic and once the onion was translucent, I added the shrimp.
Once the pasta is done cooking I drained the pasta and added it to the large saute pan and mixed it with the shrimp, onions and garlic. I also added lemon juice and the lemon oil I made earlier and mixed it well. Then I added a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach and tossed it with the hot pasta until it wilted. I thought the meal turned out pretty well and my everyone seemed to like it. (JJ was able to get his vitamins and minerals for the day :) It's always fun to cook for friends and I'm glad I was able to try this great recipe for them. It is really simple and fast to make (moms are always right), a great meal to make any night of the week.