04 October 2007

Linguini Avgolémono me Agkinara kai Fasolia

(Egg-Lemon Linguine with Artichoke Hearts and Green Beans) Greek pasta. When you hear those two words, what comes to mind? I believe the usual answer would be: feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, fennel. That's all well and good, but there's a lot more to Greek cuisine than the usual stereotypically Greek ingredients. Take, for example, Avgolémono Sauce. It's one of those flavor combinations that not everyone will agree with (hello: intense lemon flavor in savory dishes), but I do love its tang, its maturity, its freshness. Plus, with this recipe you get loads of vegetables so you can reach your 5 servings a day. This recipe is from Bon Appetit (May 2006). I suppose my pasta would look a lot better if I had used shredded Parmesan cheese instead of grated, but that's all I could come up with at a moment's notice. (Recipe follows)
Linguine Avgolemono with Artichoke Hearts and Green Beans
Linguine Avgolemono with Artichoke Hearts and Green Beans
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 egg yolks and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; add 1/3 cup heavy cream and set aside.

Bring a gallon of water to a rolling boil (I use the electric kettle and just bring it up to temperature in the pan to save gas). Add a generous amount of salt (2 tablespoons or so) and drop in 250g(8 ounces) green beans or "Baguio" beans that have been trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. If using, drop in 6 ounces of frozen artichoke hearts. I only had canned artichokes, as what is the usual in this country, so there was no need to boil them, only drain them. Strain out the vegetables and place them on a 12-inch skillet. In the same boiling water, add 250g dry linguine noodles and cook 3 minutes short of al dente (the center of the noodle will still have a tiny speck of dry pasta when you bite through it). Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water and drain the pasta.

Working quickly, whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water into the egg-yolk mixture. Add the pasta to the skillet with vegetables and toss in the pan. Pour the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (about a small bunch). Toss over medium heat until the sauce coats the noodles and thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes. You can use the remaining 1/2 cup of hot pasta water if the sauce becomes too dry. Season with salt and black pepper. Top with some more grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

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