July 9th, here we are. My first day at my new job as Director of Nutrition Services.
I’m excited and nervous, but also a bit sad that all daytime fun with Lily and the beach will have to be postponed to weekends. I’m not sure who will slip into a deeper depression over this fact, she or I.
But, it’s back to the grind…a more exciting grind, however. As expected, sleep was minimal last night. Thank goodness I had the coffee pot ready to go and my outfit picked out. Though my commute is nearly free of traffic, I’m going to allow plenty of time. Admittedly, I tend to not be so punctual at times. (Ooops.)
I’m glad that we were able to have visitors for the 4th this past week. One of those people being Kristen, best friend x25 years and counting. To say I know this girl is quite the understatement, but I must say, her taste buds are changing. She surprised me with quite a few things during her visit.
What I do know about Kristen is that she loves pasta and she loves lemon. She actually adds lemon to just about everything. Literally. I like lemon a lot, too…especially with pasta. While I couldn’t wait for Kristen’s arrival to try this dish (too darn anxious!), she did enjoy the leftovers. She is infamous for raiding the kitchen of leftovers and eating them straight from the dish with her (clean) fingers. Kristen believes this pasta is great not only leftover, but also cold.
There’s absolutely nothing special about this dish other than its classic flavors. They are simply the best and very refreshing with the citrus punch and comforting cheese.
I did quite a lot to slim down this recipe. The original version calls for 4 tablespoons of butter (I reduced to 2) and 2 tablespoons of olive oil (which I omitted). I also swapped out sour cream for a 2% plain Greek yogurt that can offer up the tang and consistency of sour cream, while packing in those healthy bacterial cultures that are so healthy for your gut, along with added protein and less fat. And of course, I used a whole wheat pasta for the fiber and added nutrients.
Just be sure you don’t skip out on that finishing touch of one final squeeze of lemon juice…it makes this dish!
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti 2 Tbsp unsalted butter 4 garlic cloves, minced 1 large lemon, juiced and zested 2 cups 2% plain Greek yogurt 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 oz (1/2 cup) pecorino romano cheese, grated 1/3 cup parsley, chopped extra lemon juice, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add garlic, then lemon juice. Turn heat off, then add yogurt and stir to combine. Add lemon zest and salt, and taste to adjust salt if necessary. Pour mixture over pasta and stir, then transfer to an oven safe dish if needed.
Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 8-10 minutes, making sure not to dry out pasta. Remove from oven and add extra lemon juice, cheese and parsley.
Yield: 8 servings (about 1 heaping cup each)
Nutrition Information (per serving): 294 calories; 7.9 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 302 mg. sodium; 44.4 g. carbohydrate; 6.1 g. fiber; 13.8 g. protein
Result: Simple flavors. This is some sort of summer comfort food. All the comfort from the pasta and cheese with all the flavor from the lemon. I love the short ingredient list and the fact that this “slimmed up” so well. If you’re looking to make this a meat-lovers meal, I would serve with with some grilled chicken or shrimp skewers. To keep it veg-friendly, a salad or veggie side is perfect! Enjoy!
Money Matters: The Greek yogurt is the most expensive ingredient – $1.50/cup and the cheese is the second most expensive ingredient at $0.95/oz. The pasta can be found on sale for $1.20/lb. Lemons are about $0.60 each and the remaining ingredients come in around $1.10. The total cost of the recipe comes to $7.80 and the cost per servings is $0.98.
First day jitters! Here we go!