Lemon Basil Penne Pasta

By Unknown - 9:58 PM

This is a recipe adapted from Giada de Laurenttiis' Lemon Spaghetti.
She is one of my favorite chefs. I've learned it doesn't take much to make delicious food.
Simple, fresh ingredients go along way. And that's exactly what this recipe is all about.

This lemon basil pasta recipe is perfect for summer.
It's light, delicious, packed with nutrients and flavor, and much easier to make than everyone thinks.
It only takes a few minutes to prep as well as boil the water for the pasta, then throw everything in the mix.
You could serve it just as is -- it makes a great light meal and side dish -- or with your choice of meat or fish. In addition, you could add your favorite veggies to make it a balanced meal.
I have mine piled with boiled broccoli and grilled chicken -- which I marinated the night before.
The concoction used for chicken marinating consists of the following:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Dijon Mustard
A small dollop of honey
A pinch of salt.

Right before you make the pasta grill chicken breasts, set 'em aside and keep 'em warm.

Just look at those grill marks. Aren't they just beautiful?
I have to admit, I didn't grill these babies. CP grilled 'em while I was at the gym.
It was a total coincidence that I happened to be on the bike looking outside and saw CP at the grill.

Anyhow. Let's get back to the good stuff.
To make a large pot of this lemon basil pasta for lunch and/or dinner you need:
1lb your choice of pasta (I used 3/4 of whole grain + 1/4 of regular penne)
Juice of 3 lemons
Small handful of fresh basil - chopped
1 crown of fresh broccoli - cut into florets
1 TBS of butter
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of almond milk

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring constantly, about 8-9 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water -- just in case you need it later to help the consistency of the sauce. If you're using broccoli, add the florets to the boiling pasta pot the last 5 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, melt 1 tbs of butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add more butter if it pleases you.
Squeeze in the juice of 3 lemons.

Let this all heat up. Whisking it together to combine.
Pour in 1 cup of almond milk -- or a mix of 1/3 cup of heavy cream + 1/3 cup of half&half if you are daring and not being a health nut.
[I'm sorry I forgot to snap a photo of this next step.]
When the cream is heated, add in 1 cup (or more) Parmesan cheese.
Whisk it together until the cheese melts and add a dash of salt & fresh ground pepper.

Pour in the cooked pasta and stir it around until it's fully coated.
If the consistency seems a little thick (depends on the amount of cheese you added) - add in as much of the hot pasta water as you need (a little at a time) to loosen up the mixture a bit.
Once the pasta & sauce is perfect - throw in the boiled broccoli florets + chopped basil. Stir everything together.

And transfer a serving of pasta + broccoli into a heated plate.
Finally, slice up the grilled chicken and pile it on the top.
Sprinkle some more of the chopped basil over the top. Don't skimp on the basil! It is worth your while, trust me. The more the better -- it is such a delightful compliment to the bright lemon flavor.
Garnish this goodness with a pretty cluster of basil leaves and/or a lemon half or two.

This pasta is really a treat. The fresh lemon flavor definitely shines through.
You can modify this recipe and add anything to your liking.
Mmmmmmmh grilled shrimps would be delicious, don't you agree?
All in all, a refreshing and ridiculously easy pasta recipe perfect for anyone who wants to impress his or her significant other over summer, dine-in dinner date night!
It won't disappoint, I promise.

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