Spring inspires the colors and textures of bright, light and wholesome foods to be brought to the table; it inspires delicious pasta dishes like a bucatini with blistered grape tomatoes and broccolini to be prepared and enjoyed in all their simple glory.
As we now enthusiastically enter this warmer time of year, I begin to develop a craving for brighter and more cheerful fare to take its place on our table so that we may be nourished and invigorated by the subtle complexities that it provides.
The spring season can be an incredibly inspiring time of year when it comes to playing in our kitchens, and bringing some of those wonderfully colorful and textured ingredients together into one delicious and unique bowl of sustenance that we can enjoy with gusto.
It is a time of year when we can be drawn by those delicious little things that are bursting with life that we know are simply perfect just as they are, with very little added or changed.
Some of my favorite recipes are those that allow each ingredient involved in the dish to just naturally bring what it is meant to bring, with all of its subtle flavor coming through and mingling beautifully with the other ingredients so each may compliment one another and create a nourishing whole.
They're the recipes that somehow are the quickest to prepare, with minimal prep and not a lot of components to complicate things when a light and fresh meal is what's longed for, especially when we're wanting to spend more time connecting with our loved ones.
Simple dishes like that of a bucatini pasta tossed with gorgeous ingredients such as sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes paired with crisp yet tender broccolini and a vibrant coating of a lemon and garlic olive oil sound utterly divine, and like the perfect meal to satisfy both the longing for the healthy and also the cozy and comforting.
To be surprised by the lovely and delicious little meals that a season such as spring can inspire is to allow one's spirit to be uplifted and engaged in the offerings made available to us at this time of year; and to take them in and allow them to simply and deliciously provide us with their nourishment and flavor, is like allowing the sunshine to enrich us with warmth, light and life!
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Sunshine Bucatini with Blistered Grape Tomatoes and Broccolini in Lemon Garlic Olive Oil
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 8-10 ounces bucatini pasta, cooked according to package instructions and kept warm
• Olive oil
• 1 ½ cups grape tomatoes
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Pinch or two red pepper flakes
• 8 ounce bunch broccolini (bottom third of stems removed), cut into bite-size pieces, and blanched (*see note below)
• Black pepper
• Lemon-Garlic Oil (recipe below)
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Shaved parmesan, for garnish
• Lemon wedges, for garnish
*To blanch, bring salted water to the boil, and add in the broccolini pieces; blanch for about 1-2 minutes, then shock in ice water to seal in the color and stop the cooking; drain and pat dry.
-Place a large cast iron or heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in 2-3 tablespoons of oil; once hot, add in the tomatoes, and allow them to sit, undisturbed, for a minute or so until they get a bit of color, or blister, from the heat; add in then garlic and the pinch of red pepper flakes, and toss together until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
-Add in the blanched broccolini pieces, plus a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, and toss to coat in the garlic mixture; then, add in the warm, cooked bucatini, and drizzle in the Lemon-Garlic oil, tossing everything together with tongs to incorporate and warm through.
-Check to see if additional salt/pepper is needed, and sprinkle in the chopped parsley; serve in bowls topped with some shaved parmesan and a wedge of lemon for extra zing.
Lemon-Garlic Oil Ingredients:
• 4 cloves garlic
• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ cup olive oil
-Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk together until combined; use immediately, or keep covered at room temp if using within a few of hours; otherwise, refrigerate.