Sunday, February 24, 2008

Long, Slender and Orange

I read a lot of recipes. I'm frequently browsing through cookbooks or all kinds, cookbooks I own, cookbooks from the library, cookbooks I borrow from friends, recipes in magazines, recipes from friends. It is inspirational and a little frustrating. So many recipes, such limited time. There is time to cook and even bake, and meals to be made. The limiting factor is often my disorganization...I don't remember (or write down) the necessary ingredients, so end up making old familiar dishes.

Recently I saw a recipe in the August 2007 Bon Appetit magazine that looked wonderful and innovative. It's a pasta dish with lots of lemon flavor, a flavor I always enjoy, but especially in the winter. The innovative part is that they use a vegetable peeler to shave long, thin strips of carrot to act sort of like linguine, then combing the carrot with linguine. It looks really pretty with the long, slender creamy linguine and the long, slender and orange carrot strips all mixed up together on the fork when you twirl them together.

The great thing is that I actually remembered to buy some nice long straight carrots, made sure I had lemons and linguine, and improved the recipe a bit by adding snow peas for color and crunch and making it with red bell pepper instead of orange or gold, mostly because I like some contrast. It was amazingly good as well as good looking. There was some butter in the sauce, but it still was a pretty healthy dish.

A tip on making the carrot strips: Start at the wider end of the carrot (where the leaves join the root) and, using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel one thin strip, then another one, then turn the carrot a quarter turn and repeat. This way you strips of carrot will stay fairly narrow. If you just run the peeler down the carrot time after time, the strips from the middle of the carrot will need to be cut into two. Otherwise they will be too fat and not play nicely with the linguine.

The snow peas are the only part of the dish that isn't shaped long and thin, but it's texture is different, too, very snappy and crisp. It makes a nice contrast to the softness of the rest of the dish and the color contrasts are fun, too. The lemon gives a burst of flavor and zing to each mouthful.

Linguine with Carrot Ribbons, Snow Peas and Lemon Sauce
A colorful, fresh tasting first-course or side dish

4 long slender carrots (about 9 oz.), peeled (although I didn’t peel mine and it was fine)
½ onion, finely chopped
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon, packed, finely grated lemon zest
1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, cored and seeded, flesh cut lengthwise into ¼ inch strips
1 ½ cups snow peas, any tough strings removed, each cut in two pieces
8 oz. linguine
2.3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Run vegetable peeler down length of each carrot, shaving into ribbons. (I found that turning the carrot a quarter turn after a couple of passes with the vegetable peeler kept the ribbons narrow.) Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add lemon peel and onions; stir 1 minute. Add carrots; stir 1 minute. Add bell peppers. Saute’ until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Spread the snow pea pieces over the hot carrot and pepper mixture. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let sit for 1-2 minutes until peas are bright green, but still crunchy.

Meanwhile cook pasta in medium pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid.

In the microwave, heat the lemon juice for 50 seconds at half power.

Add drained pasta, ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid, cheese, and the hot lemon juice to the skillet. Toss until sauce coast pasta and vegetables, adding more cooking liquid id too dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4-6 first-course servings


  1. Gorgeous! I love this idea... brilliantly executed.

  2. That sounds delicious. I always like to add thin strips of carrot to stir frys as not only does it look attractive but they also cook in the short time.

  3. This looks delicious!

  4. What a beautiful dish! I feel the same as you about all of the recipes out there to try - I often get frustrated when I never make a dent in the recipes i want to make, and there are so many more cookbooks that I want to own!

  5. Very Spring like...and so colorful.

  6. A lovely fresh pasta, so pretty too!

  7. This sounds and looks truly amazing. Ohhhh the lemon...I'd really have to work to do those carrots. Absolutely NO patience! But I'll try.

  8. This lovely, colorful dish heralds spring!