I am a huge Barefoot Contessa fan. In my wildest of dreams, I imagine being invited to Ina Garten’s home in the Hamptons, where she and I will cook up a storm together and host a fabulous dinner party for all of her fancy Hampton friends.
So it’s no surprise that I own almost all of her cookbooks and have been cooking my way through all of them over the past couple of years. What I love about her cooking is that although it’s super simple, it’s really good.
With the summer season still in full force, I thought it might be a good time to share an easy and light pasta salad courtesy of Ina, which utilizes some of the best vegetables you’ll find at the farmers market. Please note: Her original recipe is very heavy on the lemon, so I’ve adjusted it so it’s not completely overpowering.
LEMON FUSILLI WITH ARUGULA
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cups heavy cream
2 lemons (plus an extra for garnish, optional)
Kosher salt and pepper
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1 bunch broccoli
½ pound baby arugula
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for about a minute.
- Add the cream, zest from 2 lemons, juice of 1 ½ lemons, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
- As the mixture simmers, cut the broccoli into florets (discarding the stems). Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes (until tender but still firm). Drain the broccoli and run under cold water. Set the broccoli aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook for about 12 minutes (or whatever is specified on the box). Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot.
- Immediately add the cream mixture and cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed.
- Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, adding the arugula, parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Toss well, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
A little something extra:
If you are a big fan of lemon, cut a lemon in half lengthwise, slice it ¼-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta salad for garnish.