Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

A Fly on the Wall and A Light-ish Lemon Leek Linguine to Start the Year Right


Not many food blogs include a fly in the title. I guess I am just special that way. Doesn’t it spawn an immediate interest in my tantalizing lemon linguine, no? Ah well. One can never say I am too sophisticated for my own good over here at Sweet and Crumby. This lemon linguine is definitely something to swoon  drool over (can we all vow to stop using the word swoon for 2013?)


It is absolutely luscious with a bit of tang from the lemon, but just the right amount of saltiness and richness from the parmesan. And those leeks, they add such a nice little bite of both texture and freshness. Top it with juicy and plump shrimp, scatter some freshly snipped parsley, and you definitely have an easy new dish to not only add to your monthly  repertoire, but one that looks flashy and tastes divine (and isn’t loaded with fat and calories!). Win cubed I say! (I am trying to start a new trend…”win cubed”…please pass it on. 😉 )


Now back to my fly on the wall reference. As a young mom, I was frequently questioning my parenting skills. As my kiddo whined for some toy,  and the laundry was piling high and dishes were stacked in the sink, I would wonder, “Is this normal? Do other houses and moms look like this? Or is there something inherently wrong in what I am doing over here?”

I desperately wanted to be a fly on the wall at someone else’s house; someone whose kids I thought were “perfect” and whose momming skills seemed to be exemplary. Someone who never left the sack lunch by the door, always had matching clothes on and never, ever  had french fry crumbs in their kid’s car seat. I wanted to know how it’s done and what it looks like so I could replicate THAT.


But as I got older and somewhat wiser, I realized no one really has it all together; there are no perfect kids and certainly no perfect moms. We are all just treading water at various times. I do think there are some times out there when one is riding the easy train for a little while.  But those easy times are simply snippets of time in a long up and down hill ride of raising children.

I am thankful my almost-grown kids are doing great, amazing even, but they definitely have had their bumps in the road. And, although I try to be a super duper mom who will never be mentioned in therapy later on, I know that I make mistakes, hopefully recoverable ones, and I worry too much and grasp too tightly to them. Overall, parenting is alot of intuition and an equal mount of guess work and sometimes it is just survival based.


Looking wishfully at other moms who appear to have it all together is just a glossy window pane view in my opinion. We don’t know each others’ pains, squabbles or daily battles that are hidden from public view. The fly on the wall in any of our houses may take in quite a different view than the window that the world looks through, but ultimately, we can all just do the best we’ve got each day and try to afford others the courtesy to do the same.


I hope you get to make and enjoy this pasta dish with perhaps no flies on the wall at your house.

If this lemon linguine didn’t hit the mark, maybe you would like to try my lightened up Fettuccine Alfredo.

Lemon Linguine with Shrimp

Inspired by Cooking Light but with many changes.
Serves Approximately 4-6 Medium-sized portions (depending on portion size)

  • 8 0z linguine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of raw large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3-4 T. olive oil, divided
  • 2 T. butter, divided
  • 2 leeks trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups).
  • 2/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth or organic No Chicken broth (made by Imagine Foods). I use the No Chicken…it’s wonderful in this!
  • 2 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 1 t. grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Optional Addition: 1 can of drained artichokes chopped.

First properly clean your leeks. There are bits of dirt in between the layers.  Trim both the top and bottom off of the leeks (like green onions). Then cut the leeks in half lengthwise leaving two long equal halves. Loosen the layers and submerge and soak in water either in a long dish or a Ziploc bag for a couple of minutes. Drain the water and fill again and repeat if there was dirt in your water.

To begin the dish: Boil a large pot of water for your linguine. Salt the pot with two or three shakes of salt (1/2 t.).  Add linguine when the water is boiling and stir. Stir now and then while making your sauce. Make your sauce while the pasta is cooking. Drain linguine when “al dente” ( a little firmer than you like to eat it). I always taste my pasta before deciding whether it is time to drain it. It will continue to cook as you drain it and will cook a bit in the sauce as well. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside until your sauce is done. Always drain pasta well so you are not adding water into your pasta sauce.

To begin your sauce and cook your shrimp:  In a large pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, stir and saute the chopped garlic for a minute or less. DO NOT COOK ON HIGH HEAT or garlic will BURN! Garlic burns quickly. Scrape the garlic and remaining oil into a small bowl and set aside to add back to the pan later. Remove any bits of garlic left in the pan with a paper towel so they don’t burn while you cook your shrimp. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to the pan you used to cook the garlic in, and turn on medium-high heat. When good and hot, put the cleaned and dry shrimp in the pan. Turn shrimp over with tongs in about a  minute or so. When they are ready to be flipped, you will see the shrimp starting to turn a light pink underneath. *Cook another minute or so on the other side until just barely pink and not blue/gray-ish. Take them out with tongs, leaving the remaining oil and butter in the pan, and set aside. Do not clean your pan in between the making of your sauce. The essence of the shrimp and previously cooked garlic will continue to flavor your sauce in the next steps.  *It is important not to over cook the shrimp. Overcooked shrimp tastes rubbery and dry. The shrimp will cook residually when you remove it from the pan and will cook even a little more when added back into the pasta dish with hot sauce.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the “shrimp” pan (if needed depending on how much oil and butter mixture is left after cooking the shrimp) over medium heat. You want to be able to cook the leeks in about 1-2 T. of oil and butter mixture. So if you are short, simply add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.  Using a wooden spoon, be sure to get those good bits of shrimp-essence scraped off the bottom of the pan and into the oil. Add back in the sauteed garlic and the fresh leeks to the pan. Stir and saute for about two minutes on medium heat until the leeks are somewhat  translucent.  Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for about five minutes on a low-simmer or until liquid has reduced by about half. Turn down to a low heat now, and add the lemon zest, Parmesan, one tablespoon of butter, 1/2 t. salt and a few grinds of pepper and stir. Add the optional chopped artichokes now too. Taste. This is where personal preference comes into play. If it’s too lemon-y to you, add a couple  more splashes of your chicken broth (maybe 1/4 c.) and stir. Not enough lemon? Squirt a little (maybe 1/2 T.) of lemon juice into the sauce. Taste again! If it needs a tad more “something”, chances are another tablespoon of butter will add some richness and bring everything together or if it is tasting under salted to your liking, add another 1/2 t. more salt or a little more Parmesan. When the sauce is perfect,  turn off the heat and add the shrimp to the pan and stir.

Add the pasta to the shrimp and sauce (not the other way around) and coat with the sauce. Serve on a platter or in a bowl and top with the chopped parsley.  My favorite side dish is a simple Caesar salad with this. Enjoy!

28 thoughts on “A Fly on the Wall and A Light-ish Lemon Leek Linguine to Start the Year Right

  1. Looks great! Will have to try it!

  2. Well said…I think that anyone who thinks they have it together all the time is the one with the issues! Life is a journey and all our ‘stretching moments’ – shall we call them – make us stronger and prepare our kids for their own journey!

  3. I have a 20 month old, a kitchen full of dishes and piles of laundry. This post was comforting and relieving! Thank you!

  4. That looks so light for a pasta, love that and will give this a shot soon

  5. Geni, if you were a fly on a wall at my house, you would feel quite happy with your achievements. All moms feel the same way. Kids are alot of work and thats just in addition to all the other million things we have to do like work, etc.. etc.. so give your self a pat on the back that we have made this far. My wise and older sister says with a bit of laughter that first 40 years of raising kids is the hardest… LOL I laugh and cry at the same time when I here here chant this. Love your lighter and yummier shrimp and pasta dish. Looks perfect for one of those really busy nights with the kids. Take care, BAM

  6. WOW! What a delicious meal… Thank you, and Happy New Year! Love, nia

  7. Shrimp and lemon are a perfect match. Your light pasta dish is a good way to start the year.

  8. I kind of think that realizing that nobody’s life is perfect, no matter what pinterest makes it seem like, is kind of the key to happiness. OTherwise you’ll just spend all your time being jealous of others.

    Leeks are totally underrated in my opinion. I love them paired with the lemon in this pasta!

  9. I really enjoy how lemon brightens a dish of pasta. Adding leeks & shrimp makes the dish really special.
    Hmm. An article stating that blogging is an ego trip for bloggers to state opinions about willy-nilly. Kind of ironic, isn’t it?

  10. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this pasta dish. It’s on my menu next week now! Delicious Geni. And loved all your comments on parenting. I for one certainly don’t feel like I have it all together. Good to know I’m not alone. 😉 It is a series of ups and downs, but I figure as long as we’re doing the best we can and loving these little guys, that’s a pretty good head start for them. Your words always do touch me!

  11. Geni, I love coming here to get your Geni wisdom! I leave here smiling, laughing, gaining an inspiring view and always a great recipe. Did I also mention you always leave me wanting to slip into your kitchen and taste a bite of what your making?! You’re a fabulous Mom in your own unique way and I think if wwe spied on other homes, you’d see a bit of dirt in each one. We all do the best we can, as long as its thru love, we can’t go wrong.
    Now for recipe, I simply can’t go wrong in trying this. I love the idea of the lemony, tart lightness of this dish. Perfect for a dreary, cold night!

  12. “a super duper mom who will never be mentioned in therapy later on” … this made me laugh. I think as parents we hope the good sticks and the mistakes can be covered in grace. Your recipe would be a perfect weeknight meal — I wish I had a virtual fork to pluck one of those shrimp right off the top. 🙂

  13. A fabulous pasta dish, Geni. Those plump shrimps are really succulent and tender. You are a super mom 😉

  14. I have many days when I wish I could find a way to make it all work, have all the pieces fit together. Some people “seem” to have it all figured out and I have often wished I could “be a fly on their walls”.. I loved reading your post Geni. Knowing that a wonderful mom like you shares the same thoughts is comforting 🙂
    I love lemon and pasta, such a bright flavor and your dish is a work of art

  15. Ooooh, all of my favorite things on a dish. Definitely trying this one.

  16. This looks really good, unfortunately one member of my family has an allergy to leeks. Any recommendation for a substitute? Thanks as always for sharing your wonderful recipes.

    • Sweet yellow onions would work. I would just add about 3/4 a cup and make sure to include my optional addition of canned artichokes. I think that would combine be a nice substitute. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  17. The shrimp look absolutely delicious in this pasta. Yum!

  18. What a pretty and tasty looking dish.

  19. A wonderful pasta and wonderful thoughts. I must say, I think those mums who look like they have it all together are usually the ones coming apart at the seems the most. Messy is good 🙂 And I promise to not say swoon for all of 2013, though I’m not really sure I did say it much in 2012 either 🙂

  20. I remember feeling the same way when I was young, then came to realize that I preferred my non-perfect family. 🙂 We still have our difficulties here and there, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. And on to the pasta…OH my, oh my. This sounds divine!! I’m usually too cheap to buy shrimp, haha, but it would definitely be worth buying for this recipe.

  21. I love your description- the tang from the lemon and the saltiness from the parmesan. you have a way with words. it sounds delicious and so appealing and I can definitely turn this into a GF recipe! Thanks for everything- you know what i mean!

  22. You are SO right about moms. We all are just doing the best we can. 🙂 And I’m thinking your best is pretty good, hearing about your kids and seeing your delicious food, Geni!

  23. Geni, this pasta dish sounds and looks delicious, like the lemon and shrimps…nice meal.
    Hope you are having a great week!

  24. prawns, lemon, garlic. my idea of heaven! I am literally dribbling onto my keyboard right now!

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