I know that by now you must be thinking that this has turned into a gardening blog instead of the food blog you originally subscribed to. The truth is that since I had back surgery last August, my interest in food has all but evaporated. I have lost almost 20 lbs and I am delighted to meet up with my old size 10 clothes. These days, I eat to sustain. It's all about calories folks, and eating less is a sure bet to weight loss. Don't over think it. Listen to your stomach and eat when it tells you. Just a little will keep it content. I am not hungry until mid afternoon when I have a small snack. I eat a normal dinner, including a sweet, if I feel like it, and that's it until the next day. The only exercise I do is in the garden or going up and down the stairs that separate us from Madame Mere's apartment.
Yesterday I got inspired... at Homegoods, of all places. It was a jar of sun dried tomatoes that made me want pasta. They often have wonderful artisanal pasta made in Italy and I always stock up when a new shipment comes in. The one that got my attention was the lemon linguine. I thought it would go well with the sun dried tomatoes and....tuna! I also remembered the jar of artichoke hearts in the pantry that I had noticed was getting near expiration. Voila, a new dish was born! From there it was just a matter of tweaking with herbs. Very soon I was going to be enjoying a dish and memories of the South of France.
By the time I got home I was starving and ready for an evening of creativity. My daughter had just made a Costco run and there on the counter was a jar of what would make this dish sing, basil pesto. And crunch, Parmesan Crisps! No matter she had forgotten the napkins which was the reason she had gone there in the first place!
I encourage you to make the recipe as is. Don't substitute for the Sherry with white wine. It needs the sweetness and body only Sherry can add. If you can't get lemon pasta easily, don't sweat it. Add a TB finely shredded lemon peel or chopped lemon balm.
I only used half the package of pasta and it was enough for four people. I tend to like more "goodies" and less pasta and these are the right proportions. If you make the whole package, double up on the rest of the ingredients.
This would be a great ladies lunch in Summer or Spring or a quick dinner any time of the week. Put your feet up, enjoy the garden and imagine you are in the South of France!
Lemon Pasta With Artichoke Hearts, Tuna and Sun Dried Tomatoes In a Cream Pesto Sauce
2 TB butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot chopped
1/2 cup Dry Sherry
2 TB basil pesto
8 oz. heavy cream
1/2 lb Lemon pasta, linguine or fettuccine, cooked al dente*
1 can artichoke hearts
1 can tuna, packed in oil and drained
4 or 5 sliced sun dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste ( I added a few flakes of Aleppo pepper)
Parmesan cheese, shredded
Chopped basil or parsley for decoration (optional)
Pre warm the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the pasta as per package directions. Leave a little al dente. Drain and save some of the cooking water.
Saute the garlic and shallot in the oil and butter until translucent.
Add the Sherry and reduce to half.
Add the basil pesto. You can use homemade or ready made. Stir
Add the cream and let it simmer for a bit until it thickens.
Add the artichoke hearts, roughly chopped, the tuna and the sliced sun dried tomatoes.
Add the cooked pasta and stir until the noodles are fully coated. If you find it is too thick (you won't) add a little of the pasta water.
Place in a casserole dish, sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese and top with crunched Parmesan Whisps. Cook covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5 or until it browns. Don't let the pasta dry up!
Add chopped parsley or basil on top before serving (optional). I was too hungry!
* you can use plain pasta but add about 1 TB finely shredded lemon peel.
All photos Lindaraxa