Thursday, April 19, 2012

Super Supper

I'm pretty excited to share this latest discovery with those of you who love to cook and those who don't really cook much yet (hopefully you're changing your minds).  The other night we had another one of Giada DeLaurentis' fabulous recipes called Swordfish and Spaghetti with Citrus Pesto.  It has everything I like in a weeknight dinner.  Another idea for serving up fish to the family (remember twice a week is what we should shoot for), it involves pesto (which is the best because you pack in a ton of flavors with very little effort) and it is easy and quickly made.  If you have a food processor or a blender then you can make pesto and I suggest you do so very soon. 
I like to use my ultra fancy circa 1988 "La Machine I" for my food processing needs.  If you haven't noticed yet, my kitchen is where my Mom's old kitchen gadgets go to die.  Unfortunately some of them have incredible lifespans (I might have to kill this one myself so I can get a new one for my birthday this year).  I'm all for nostalgia but sometimes you just want to bring things up to date, ya know?
Now this pesto is much like your regular basil pesto but with the unexpected addition of orange and lemon.  What a lovely and fresh twist to an old favorite. 
Pick the leaves of one whole bunch of basil, toss in a clove (or three) of garlic and some pine nuts that you have carefully toasted (watching like a stalker so they don't burn because those suckers are not cheap).  I have been known to use pistachios if I don't have pine nuts on hand. Just as tasty.
You also add the zest and juice of one lemon and one orange.  No fancy tools needed for this task either.  We all had the box grater back in '76 did we not?  I'll admit, this is the newer and smaller replacement of the one my mother handed down to me (it eventually got pretty beat up, maybe a little rusty even).  So you add it all to the blender/processor and blend until finely chopped.  Then add olive oil to the running machine until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese.
The swordfish is a simple prep, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  This fish was bought frozen in packages of two at about $16.00 total for all four.  It's not your cheapest  meal but again, comparing to eating out and the health benefits we get from eating fish, I say it's worth it to spend the money every once in a while if you can.  Grill the fish about 5 min on each side.  While the fish is grilling cook your spaghetti according to the package directions.
Drain the pasta and top with the pesto tossing until well combined (as you can see we threw some asparagus into the pasta water too!).
This would be great on it's own or even with chicken or grilled shrimp.  Definitely with grilled shrimp!
And there you have it.  An impressive meal with not much work involved, its a win-win!

Swordfish and Spaghetti with Citrus Pesto (Giada DeLaurentis)

1 lb spaghetti pasta
1 bunch fresh basil, about 3 cups leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic (I always use more than recommended)
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
1 orange, zest grated and juiced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to directions, about 9 min.  Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Blend basil, pine nuts, garlic, zests, juices, salt and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped.  With the machine running, gradually add oil until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parm.  Toss with warm spaghetti and add reserved pasta water as needed to loosen.

Meanwhile, place a grill pan over med-high heat or preheat a charcoal or gas grill.  Brush both sides of fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill 4-5 min a side for 1 inch thick fillet. Serve along side or on top of pasta.
I recommend adding some asparagus or a green salad.  Dig in and enjoy!

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