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 relish.
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, 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 a lot of intuition and an equal amount 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!