Thursday, October 13, 2011

spaghetti limone/bacon wrapped pork loin

So as I mentioned in my post on zucchini, I visited my Aunt Elise and Uncle Ed when I went out to California this summer. In addition to the aforementioned vegetable, I put together quite a nice dinner, if I do say so myself.

First we had a garlic and sage crusted pork loin. That is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a big old pork loin generously seasoned and rubbed with olive oil, garlic and fresh sage. Further gilding the lily, as per Aunt Elise's excellent suggestion, I wrapped that sucker in bacon before searing it off in a frying pan and finishing it off in the oven. Gotta love that pork on pork action.

There you have it after it came off the stove, and below is it all sliced up, moist and delicious. I don't remember it looking quite that pink in person, but I assure you that it was cooked to the proper temperature.

At the top of the post you'll find my take on spaghetti limone, cobbled together from not one, not two, but three different recipes. The first is from the smitten kitchen, the second from Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis and the third from Jamie Oliver by way of Serious Eats.

The base for all three is incredibly similar: lemon juice and zest are mixed with olive oil and grated parmesan to form a citrusy, creamy sauce. Smitten Kitchen also added a little cream and let it all cook down in a sauce pan before adding the pasta, but I skipped the cream and the extra cooking. Instead, I took my lead from Serious Eats, who suggested upping the ante with creamy mascarpone, and took the liberty of adding a little ricotta cheese. Make sure to set aside a cup of pasta water to bind the sauce together and keep things from drying out. As a final touch and a much needed burst of color, Giada's calls for tossing in some spinach and parsley, and the Smitten Kitchen suggests arugula, but I stuck with shredded basil, as Jamie's recipe suggested. I'm sure any of the three would work just fine, but I always love a nice hit of basil.

Doesn't it look delicious next to my sweet zucchini coins? It was quite tasty, and definitely a nice easy pasta dish that I am happy to have added to my repertoire. It's an unusual use of lemon, and who doesn't like a nice creamy pasta sauce?

I've since discovered this fancier version with hazelnuts, mascarpone and spinach, which I just might have to try next, especially considering I have a sizable bag of hazelnuts in the pantry... stay tuned!

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