Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fraiche pasta?

Tonight, in spite of my best laid plans to heat up yet another batch of curried lentils and roasted root vegetables, I found myself holding a box of angel hair pasta and could not bring myself to put it down. Maybe it's the cold weather. Or the fact that most of my personal cheffing has been for a couple who are trying to cut out carbs. Or the ferocious cravings for hearty, comforting pasta that I've been having since, oh, early November since I resolved to cut gluten out of my diet.

(Obviously I've fallen off the wagon a few times during the holidays. And more recently when we had a Slow Food gathering at a local brewpub. And just yesterday when friends recently returned from Paris handed me a gift of smuggled, fresh macarons. But I do try, because my body seems to hurt a lot more when I indulge. I noticed a marked increase in low back pain this morning, likely due to my polishing off a half dozen macarons while soaking in the bathtub last night.)

At least this was a box of rice-based pasta in my hand tonight.

Now, I will say that most gluten-free food items that attempt to mimic the real, glutinous (and delicious) thing fall way short. Including pasta. The biscuits that I attempted a week or so ago were weirdly textured such that I actually attempted to pass them off as sweet potato scones. (True story. Embarrassing.) I don't even bother with gluten-free beer. (Oh, beer, nectar of the gods, I've been missing you!) But I digress (again). Tonight I had a hankering for pasta that would not quit, exacerbated by my stumbling across a delicious sounding concoction while I poked around online for inspiration for what to do with my leftover creme fraiche from yesterday's cheffing. (BTW, if I ever find myself in Indianapolis, home to the farm-to-table restaurant from whence this recipe hails, I'm totally going there for dinner.) It was so spectacularly tasty and simple, and for once I had all of the ingredients on hand (and it's likely you will, too), that I offer the recipe, slightly adapted and using way fewer dishes, here:

Lemony Fraîche Pasta

  • 8 oz. box dried angel hair pasta (gluten-free rice pasta is pretty good in this one!)
  • salt
  • 1-2 handfuls fresh parsley leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
  • zest of 1 lemon (have a microplane? use it!)
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1-2 handfuls Parmesan cheese, finely grated (you can reuse the microplane here, heheh)
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package instructions (usually 5-7 minutes, but if your package tells you to rinse the noodles in cold water after draining, please ignore that part).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the parsley with the garlic and lemon zest, mixing until just combined. Stir in the crème fraîche with the olive oil and lemon juice until combined. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes. There, your sauce is done.

When the angel hair is cooked, use tongs to transfer it directly to the bowl with the sauce. Toss the spaghetti until the sauce coats the noodles evenly. (The pasta water clinging to the noodles will help to thin the sauce.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dust with more parmesan if you like and devour while hot!

This pic was snapped before I dusted both pasta and salad with some fresh parmesan -- partly in honor of the winter storm's dusting of my city with snow earlier today, though just in case you're wondering I did not add 5-7" of grated cheese to my noodles.

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