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After reading the article about Spaghetti al Limone in the most recent issue of Cooks Illustrated, I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen. I figured anyone who spent that much time and effort trying to recreate a dish was clearly on to something, plus we all know how I feel about entrees that feature lemon….

Of course I’m never content to leave good enough alone, so I pulled out the pasta machine that I received a while ago and set out to make a special Valentine’s Day dish that was thoroughly infused with bright, lemon flavor. Topped with a few seared sea scallops, this pasta definitely didn’t disappoint — the only thing that could have make it better would have been to eat it at a table outside, steps away from the ocean.

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No pasta machine? No Problem! While a machine definitely makes things a lot smoother, you can easily make this without one — just place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it to about 1/8-inch. Remove the paper and cut into thin, fettucini-like strands with a sharp knife or a pizza roller dipped in flour.

This was my first time using the machine (I have the Kitchen Aid press attachment, but I’ve never had good luck with it), and once I figured out what I was doing it was really easy. A few tips I picked up: Dough dries out quickly, so work with one piece at a time. Initially, I rolled all of my dough through the thickest setting of the roller, then all through the next setting, and so on. But it dried out too fast and I ended up having to throw a bunch of it out. I had much better luck when I started rolling each piece of dough to the level of thickness that I wanted and cutting it before I moved on to the next piece. I also found that the dough rolled the best when I cranked the machine at a steady, moderate speed. The instructions said to crank it slowly, but that resulted in weird, crinkly pasta (you can see them to the left in the photo below) — it still tasted great, but it wasn’t as pretty to look at.

Drying the pasta after its cut will help it to not clump together. I have this neat little tree to hang it on, but in the pat I’ve also hung pasta off of chopsticks or skewers suspended between two boxes or cans. It doesn’t take long to dry – 10 to 15 minutes is plenty.

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Lemon and Black Pepper Pasta with Seared Scallops
Serves 2

For the pasta:

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Zest
  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper

For the sauce:

  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • Zest and Juice from 2 Lemons
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
  • Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Lb. Sea Scallops

To make the pasta: Combine all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Pulse several times, until a ball of dough forms. The dough should be smooth and soft (similar to bread dough) but should not stick to your fingers — add more flour or water if needed to achieve the right texture. Divide the dough into 8 portions. Feed one portion of dough through your pasta machine or roll between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Using the cutter attachment of your pasta machine or a sharp knife, cut into thin strands. Hang to dry, and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3 minutes, or until done. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.

To make the sauce: Heat 2 Tbs of water in your now-empty pasta pot. Add the shallot and cook until softened. Stir in the cream and about half of the reserved pasta water. Add the cooked pasta back into your pot, and stir so that it is coated with cream. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and cheese. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining Tablespoon of oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the scallops for three minutes on each side, or until a golden brown crust forms and the release easily form the pan.

Mix the parsley into the pasta. Serve pasta topped with seared scallops.

Approx. 650 calories, 35 grams fat, 47 grams carbohydrates, 6.5 grams fiber, 38 grams protein[/print_this]

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I’m submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Pia of Cook Healthy.  

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Disclosure: I received the Norpro Pasta Machine and drying stand from Johnsonville Sausage months ago, while they were promoting their recipe contest. Unfortunately, that contest is long over and I’ve only just now gotten around to using the machine. First life got in the way and I was unable to cook, then I couldn’t find any Johnsonville sausage (only breakfast sausage, which doesn’t exactly go with pasta, and cheddar bratwurst, which kind of freaks me out). The, I just plain forgot that I had it. But now that I’ve used it, I love it! I(I can’t wait to use it to make lasagna!) So thanks, Johnsonville!