Friday, May 20, 2011

lemon linguini

This is a simple and zippy pasta main dish.  It is adapted from Susan Branch’s delightful, THE SUMMER BOOK cookbook. Are you familiar with her?
She is creative, inspiring, nostalgic and fun.  Before I had an internet full of blogs to look at for inspiration and to get my creative juices flowing, Susan Branch did it for me, through her books and calendars.  She has handwritten ideas and quotes and sayings and adorable illustrations and detail-work.    

I love the art and beauty of handwriting and I love to hand write things. In fact, having to blog in typeset is really disappointing to me, because I would so much rather it be in handwriting.  That is much more my style.

I have always looked closely at Susan Branch’s books to try to discern if she really writes each word by hand or if her handwriting is a font.  The moment I think, “this is too perfect, it has to be a font” I see a slight variance in the letters from one sentence to the next, which then leads me to believe that she actually does hand write each piece.  She says she does! Her watercolor whimsy, illustrations and borders are sweet and quaint and endearing.

This book, from 1995, has been a go-to book.  The pages are warped and stained from splashes of ingredients as it was sitting opened on my recipe stand in my kitchen for years.  I made my first Bruschetta from this cookbook.  This lemon linguini, and a wonderful pineapple salsa, to serve on top of grilled meat, are favorites of mine from this cookbook.

One of my greatest pleasures is connecting people I love with other people or things that I love.  You know... sharing the joy!  Well, with this recipe, I like to connect Susan Branch to Ina Garten.  I think they should be friends (for all I know they play bridge in Martha’s Vineyard every Thursday evening). I think they are both fabulous, in their own, very authentic way. They have each been influential in my life and my kitchen.  I love Ina’s lemon grilled chicken and I love Susan’s lemon linguini. I think the two together make a dynamic pair.

We had it this week and mmm, it is so good.  I made a vat of it and we devoured it.

Lemon Linguini (adapted from Susan Branch)
1 lb. linguini
½ cup olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 2 lemons
½ cup chopped purple onion or green onion- you choose
lots of parmesan cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

and whatever accompaniments you'd like:
Sauteed shrimp
or grilled chicken strips
Asparagus spears
or Roasted green beans
chopped tomatoes
toasted pine nuts
fresh parsley or basil
or whatever you like or have on hand!

Cook linguini in boiling salted water till done; drain well. Meanwhile, combine next 4 ingredients in a large serving bowl.  Add pasta & toss well.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper- toss in Parmesan to taste.  Top with additional ingredients of your choice.  Add more Parmesan!

This week we added Ina's grilled lemon chicken tenders, roasted asparagus, chopped tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts.  I would highly recommend this combination!

[for directions on roasting asparagus click here]

Grilled Lemon Chicken (adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or from a bottle..don't tell Ina)
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (I omit sometimes
              for kids)
2 pounds boneless chicken tenderloins (or breasts)

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Pour over chicken in a nonreactive bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, but can marinate overnight.  Heat grill and cook over medium heat until cooked through.

Buy some lemons, put them in a dish and set them on the counter- they might inspire you to whip up some of this zesty pasta and chicken this week!   


  1. This looks SO good!! It's going on the menu for next week-I think we'll all love it. I like that it doesn't have heavy cream as you know we're cutting down on the dairy here. Somehow parmesan cheese doesn't count in my mind! :)

  2. I'm going to have to quit reading your blog. It's making me homesick for easy cooking and yummy food. Can you send me some asparagus?! :)
    Andrea F

  3. Oh no, Andrea, I am sorry it's making you homesick. You will have to collaborate with Melinda and come up with some adaptations! We think about you and have been praying for you at Trinity.

  4. Uh oh! Someone's post just got added to my favorites...the recipes tab. :) Thanks!

  5. I just made this and it was awesome!! I will say that Ina's recipe made way too much marinade. Next time I'll half the recipe.

    Thanks so much!

  6. Glad you tried it and liked it!

  7. We loved it! It is now on my husband's favorite recipes list!! We tried Ina's recipe on the grill last weekend and I marinated the chicken overnight....we ended up with ceviche chicken, so in the future I will only marinate it for a few hours (like I did the first go-round). Thanks so much sharing this recipe!

  8. Oh wow, Bridgette! Good to know. Did you 1/2 the marinade like you mentioned that you might do? I was thinking that might have caused it to "cook"- the different proportions than she recommends. Just a thought. So glad your family likes it! Hooray!

  9. Bridgette...we haven't met yet, but I love your blog. Thank you so much for including picked my dad's favorite recipe, linguini and clam sauce, perfect for this June weekend! Just wanted to say hello and Happy Cooking! ♥ Susan Branch

  10. Julie - I didn't that time because we were grilling a ton of chicken. On another note I made linguini for a different meal last night and my 4 year old said, "Ooo, is this the lemon chicken noodles. I love the lemon chicken ones." I believe that was the first time in his life that he has requested a specific recipe! Thanks so much for adding this to my repertoire!