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A Bright Pasta for A Winter Party: Pasta With Preserved Lemon, Pickled Chili and Parmesan

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I love entertaining in the beginning of the year. Yes, when the weather is unpredictable and people have minimal plans.

A few years ago, I attempting to organize a party in December and it sadly felt more like a chore, to wrangle everyone together, than a celebration. The eve of the year is stuffed with holiday parties, festive family gatherings, and the “I haven’t seen you all year, so let’s do something in the Christmas spirit” plans.

But, when post New Years sneaks up and people are constantly chilly and slightly depressed after the holiday season high, I send out my Let’s Celebrate invite!

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Pinky (his proper name is Devang), my fabulous friend and cooking sidekick, assisted me in creating the menu. My vision was bountiful, bright and, wholesome. (Local and organic is a given).  And suitable for an elegant buffet style dinner while still having courses, making their way to the dining room table in stages throughout the evening.

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Assorted Flatbreads and Roasted Beets with Arugula and French Lentils

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Amongst the spread, I usually like to incorporate a pasta of some sort. Because, honestly what is better than pasta and wine?  There was this dish that had been lingering on the brain ever since I sampled it at the West Village eatery, Rosemary’s, a while back.

Since I worked for Serena Bass, I have been intrigued with preserved lemons. Our offices were in the once charming Meatpacking District, when there was actually a bustling meat community. I would gladly volunteer to truck over to the quirky British market Myers of Keswick on Hudson and pick up a few jars, whenever preserved lemons made their way onto our cocktail party menus. Which often echoed a Moroccan and Indian flair.

But, for the past few years these aged bulbs of citrus have been showing up in my dishes.

When I decided to recreate the Rosemary’s pasta, or at least attempt to, I googled the menu, and there it was…

 

LINGUINE
preserved lemon, pickled chili, parmigiano

That’s it…

Well, I knew one thing. That my taste buds were buzzing from the tart, tangy, an velvety trifecta, when I painlessly devoured the dish.

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So one evening after some TV bingeing and Cabernet drinking, I decided to play in the kitchen. At the present time I did not have preserved lemons in my pantry. But I did have a Buddha’s Hand from the set I had been working on, Worst Cooks In America. So, I substituted the fragrant zest for the pulpy flesh and rind I would later use in my dish, when I served it up to my friends at my winter party.

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MAFALDINE
With Preserved Lemon, Pickled Chili and Parmesan

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 anchovy in oil, chopped
2 preserved lemons, using the rind, plump, and juice, chopped
3 pickled red chili peppers, fresno or cherry peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound of Mafaldine, bucatini or linguine
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

(Note: If interested in pickling your own chilis, feel free to email me)

Method:

  • Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, then heavily salt water (approximately 2 tablespoons)
  • In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and let them cook down, about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown and fragrant, about a minute.
  • Meanwhile, drop in the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente, drain well. Reserving a cup of the pasta water.
  • Add the chili and preserved lemon and cook until the flavors marry, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the pan and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.

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Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)


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