Linguine Fini with Roasted Asparagus

Spring is around the corner. This means an abundance of asparagus and finding myriad ways to prepare it before the season is over.

Recipes need not be complicated or time consuming. Last night's dinner was simple, quick, and healthy. The ingredients are few and include the following:

::asparagus

::olive oil

::sea salt

::freshly ground pepper

::linguine fini

::butter

::shallots

::flat-leaf parsley

::parmesan

::lemon zest

In an oven heated to 425F, roast the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 10 minutes, depending on size of spears. Let cool slightly after removing from oven. Chop into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water for the linguini fini. When it gets to a rolling boil, salt it with sea salt and add the pasta. As soon as it reaches al dente status, drain the water and leave pasta in colander.

In a large pan, heat about a tablespoon of unsalted butter and add one or two diced shallots. Season with salt and add the parsley. Cook for a few minutes until shallots soften. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta and asparagus. Transfer to bowl and top with freshly grated parmesan and lemon zest. Season with additional sea salt and pepper if needed.

 

BELUGA LENTIL SALAD

 

It was after 18h and I still didn't have an idea what to make for dinner. I looked in my pantry at the many Whole Foods bulk containers and chose the black beluga lentils.

I measured out one cup of the lentils, rinsed them, and cooked them in water for about 25 minutes. In the meantime, I chopped several cloves of garlic. I love garlic so I tend to use more than most people might. In this case, I believe it was about 7 cloves.

Walking outside onto the back patio, I selected a few sprigs of fresh Italian oregano and thyme. The leaves were picked off and added to the garlic, being further chopped. I found two small red bell peppers from a Farmer's market purchase in the vegetable bin and chopped those. Chopped a handful of broccoli florets.

Directions are simple. Cook garlic with herbs in olive oil over medium heat. Add peppers. Add broccoli. Briefly cook. Remove from heat. Cook spaghetti. Drain beluga lentils. Return lentils to pot. Add veggies, zest of one lemon, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add salt and pepper. Spoon over spaghetti. Top with feta and enjoy.

The lentil and veggie mixture can be eaten as a salad or spooned over pasta.

 

Beluga Lentil Salad


 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

7 garlic cloves, chopped

fresh oregano leaves

fresh thyme leaves

1 red bell pepper, diced

handful of broccoli florets, chopped

zest of one lemon

squeeze of lemon juice

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Greek feta, crumbled

 

spaghetti (optional)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook lentils in water until tender - about 25 minutes. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti if using this as a pasta topping.

Heat olive oil in pan. Add garlic and herbs and cook for a few minutes.

Stir in the peppers and broccoli. Cook further for a minute or two. Remove from heat.

Drain the lentils and return to pot. Add the cooked veggies, lemon zest, and a squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into serving bowl and top with crumbled feta.

Can be eaten as a side dish or as a pasta topping.