Cocktails Anytime

Pappardelle with Lemon-Leek Sauce

I’m a huge fan of Cipriani pasta. The pasta is silky and buttery and holds sauce well.

• 1 (8.8-ounce) package dried pappardelle pasta
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 10 basil leaves
• 2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and thinly sliced (white and light green portions) (1 cup)
• 1 tablespoon butter
• Salt and ground white pepper
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 shallots, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup dry white wine or Champagne
• 2 cups whipping cream
• 3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese (3 ounces)
• 2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon zest
• 6 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
• 1 medium zucchini
• 1 medium yellow summer squash
• 1 cup yellow and/or red cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions; drain. Return to pot. Keep warm. Meanwhile, in small skillet heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Place six basil leaves in hot oil; cook 2 to 3 minutes each side or until crisp (leaves will brown a little). Carefully remove to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cut remaining basil leaves into thin ribbons; set aside.

For sauce, in large skillet sauté leeks with butter over medium heat until tender and lightly browned (about 3 minutes). Sprinkle lightly with salt and white pepper. Remove leeks from skillet; set aside.

Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and shallots to skillet. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Remove skillet from heat; add wine. Return to heat. Bring to boil. Add cream to skillet. Bring to boil; boil gently, uncovered, about 7 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats a spoon, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low. Add grated Parmesan. Stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon zest and juice. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Keep warm.

If desired, to grill shrimp, thread shrimp onto metal or soaked wooden skewers, leaving 1/4-inch between pieces. Sprinkle shrimp lightly with salt and pepper. Place skewers on rack of charcoal or gas grill over medium heat. Cover; grill 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, or until shrimp are opaque. Remove from skewers; set aside. (Shrimp can be made ahead and chilled.)

With vegetable peeler, cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into thin ribbon slices (stop when you get to the seeds). Place on paper towels; pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

To serve, set aside 1/4 cup leek mixture. Add squash ribbons, cherry tomatoes, remaining leeks, shrimp (if using), and basil ribbons to pasta in pot. Toss with half the sauce. Transfer to dinner plates. Garnish with fried basil leaves and reserved leeks. Pass remaining sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Sauce can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 days. To reheat, place sauce in large skillet and heat over low heat.

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