Lemon Pepper Parsley Pasta

It only takes a few ingredients to make a fabulous meal – just ask the Italians.

Photo: d. king

The thing that makes something go from fine to fabulous is the freshness of the few ingredients.  This is where less is more.

I mean look at minimalist cacio e pepe (love it) – it’s literally “cheese and pepper. ”   Bon Appétit refers to it as a stripped-down mac and cheese.  

In Italy a friend served homemade gnocchi with sage from her garden pan fried in butter to make it browned & crispy. It was excellent on its own served with parmesan.

Parsley is something I don’t use enough of and it’s so good for you.  Except for making your breath fresher, on its own it’s kind of bland but when you marry it up with garlic, fresh lemon and reggiano parmesan it shines. I just used some in a ranch dressing and there was so much left over that I wanted to use it up.  I don’t like throwing food away.

Often labeled as one of the most powerful disease-fighting plants, parsley provides great nutritional value and offers many potential health benefits.  Over the years, parsley has been used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, allergies, and inflammatory diseases.

The herb is rich in many vitamins, particularly vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and bone health. Parsley is also a great source of vitamins A and C — important nutrients with antioxidant properties.

For this dish you need only spaghetti, fresh lemon (sprinkle some zest over top at the end), a few garlic cloves minced, chopped fresh parsley, olive oil, a little butter, parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and course salt. 

Cook the spaghetti to package directions (al dente is best).  When it’s draining you can use the same pot to mix the rest and then put the spaghetti back into the pot. Serve right away.  This can be a great side dish for chicken but works well on its own too.

I’m trying to eat more gluten-free as often as possible because it’s less bloating and you don’t feel overly stuffed. I’ve tried almost all the gluten free pasta varieties there are.  Some are mushy, some fall apart and some taste just plain awful.  Over time I’ve managed to find a few labels that taste good and cook like normal pasta. In the process I’ve wasted some good sauce on crappy tasting pasta.

I’ve tested chickpea, quinoa and lentil but the ones that come closest to old fashioned style is made with brown rice and corn.  Even Barilla has gluten-free now.

End result. I usually say it tastes as good as it looks. In this case it tastes better than it appears.