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There so many days when I crave something simple like spaghetti, but it’s so lovely to put a little twist on it. It’s a favorite of mine. I still haven’t tried my hand at a true spaghetti sauce, but the light and bright versions like this one always satisfy!

Tomato Caper Pasta
via fresh365

1 lb linguine
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 large plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons caper juice
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add linguine. Cook 8-12 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside. In a large saute pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and shallots, over medium heat. Cook 5-7 minutes, until light golden brown and add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn shallots or garlic. Add tomatoes, capers, caper juice and lemon zest and juice. Cook 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes are warm, and are just beginning to break down. Stir in linguine, adding remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season generously, to taste, with salt and pepper.

We’re off to the Ballard Seafood Fest today and in honor of the day (and really because I had fish on the brain), I moved a bit outside our comfort zone last night and cooked with sardines – and they were delicious! This pasta dish is super simple, and the flavors are clean and fresh. A great addition to our easy summer meals rotation.

Linguine with Sardines, Fennel & Tomato
via food52

Kosher or sea salt
1 tin sardines packed in olive oil (about 4 ¼ oz.)
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed, and roughly chopped
1 small or ½ large bulb fennel, fronds reserved
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, or more to taste
1 cup canned peeled tomatoes with their juice, gently crushed
2 ounces white (dry) vermouth
1 medium lemon, juice and zest
1/3 cup toasted bread crumbs
3/4 pounds dry linguine

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Open the sardine tin and drain a tablespoon or so of the oil into a wide skillet (the amount of oil in the tin will vary by brand, so add additional extra virgin olive oil if necessary to make up a tablespoon). Warm the oil over medium-low heat and add the garlic, cooking until fragrant (just a minute or two). Trim the fennel and slice the bulb very thinly (a mandoline works great here, but I just used my knife). Add to the skillet with a sprinkle of salt, raise the heat to medium, and cook until the fennel is soft and beginning to caramelize.
Add the chile flakes and let them sizzle for a minute, just until fragrant, then add the tomatoes with their juice. Cook until the liquid is reduced, then add the vermouth and let that reduce slightly. Add the sardines to the skillet with the tomato and fennel mixture, breaking up slightly but leaving some chunks. Zest the lemon and combine a tablespoon or so of zest with the toasted breadcrumbs, then set aside. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Add the linguine to the boiling salted water, cooking it until it is just short of al dente. Using tongs, transfer the linguine to the sauce to finish cooking, adding a little bit of the starchy pasta water and tossing gently to combine. (You’ll want to leave this a little wet, as the breadcrumbs will soak up the sauce and dry the pasta out a bit once you’ve added them.)
Transfer the pasta and sauce to a large warmed serving bowl (or individual pasta bowls), add a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle on the toasted breadcrumb-lemon zest mixture, and garnish with picked small fennel fronds and the remaining lemon zest.

I’ve been fighting off various colds and all sorts of uck every since we got home. I’ve come to realize how rough travel can be on the body. All I’ve been craving is healthy, hearty, comforting meals. Enter Pinterest. I stumbled across a fantastic recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck and adapted it to what we had laying around in the fridge. And because I love to add a little wine to everything.

Veggie Ragout
Adapted from the Cookin’ Canuck

5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons of dried, if that’s what you have)
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (I used a Riesling)
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
28 oz can of diced tomatoes
14 oz can of cannellini beans
1 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cups water

In a medium sauce pan, the water, rice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bring to a simmer. Cover, turn to low and let it cook for 45 minutes.
Heat the other 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, wine, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes and juices and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse the beans well. Stir in the beans and cook until beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve over the rice.

Spaghetti has been my go-to weeknight meal for as long as I can remember. And yes, often the canned sauce kind. But since we discovered this lovely, basic, incredibly fresh version; we hardly reach for those jars. So easy, so tasty. Even my dear husband makes it for me!

spaghetti redux

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes
Adapted from Real Simple

12 oz spaghetti (3/4 box)
2 pounds grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, plus more to taste
A few grinds of black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (I usually use basil, parsley and oregano)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Roast the tomato mixture until they begin to burst and the onion starts to get soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture, chopped herbs, and remaining tablespoon oil.
Serve with the Parmesan and additional oil (if desired).