My friend Dom at Belleau Kitchen recently set up the 'random recipe' challenge. The idea is to choose a cookbook randomly from your collections and then open the book also at random and cook the recipe on that page. Doesn't that sound like fun?
If you're like me, a cookbook-junkie, you have loads of cookbooks whether ones you bought yourself or gifts from friends. I do read them but I have certain favourites that I use quite frequently; and so I feel this challenge is a great opportunity for me to cook from the other books.
I went to my book-shelf and I put all the Nigella's books aside because I cook from her books pretty frequently and also Jamie's Cook with Jamie because I already cooked all the recipes in that book. I closed my eyes and I grabbed one book, and the book I selected was: Giada's Kitchen, New Italian Favorites by Giada de Laurentiis. Yay! And the recipe I chose at random is whole-wheat spaghetti with lemon, basil and salmon. Am I lucky or what?
When I went to high school in the States, one day I flicked through the TV channels and I found Food Network and ever since, it was pretty much all the TV I watched. I remember sprinting home after school, so that I wouldn't miss shows like Michael Chiarello's Easy Entertaining, Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa and Giada's Everyday Italian. Watching those chefs on the television for me was like attending private cooking lessons and I learned many cooking terminologies and techniques by watching these programmes. I also think Giada is hot.
Anyway, the pasta was delicious. If you're looking for a healthy pasta dish, you can't go wrong with this one. Like Giada, when I eat this I also feel I've both indulged a craving for pasta and treated myself to something especially healthful and nutritious.
For more information about the challenge, you can visit Dom's blog here.
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil and Salmon
Recipe by Giada de Laurentiis
1/2 pound whole-grain or whole-wheat spaghetti
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon fillets and cook until medium-rare about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.
Add the basil, capers, lemon zest and juice to the spaghetti and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with one quarter of the pasta. top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Take a picture quickly for the blog and serve immediately.