Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lemon, Parsley & Pears

And butter. So much butter.

Last week my boyfriend and I were tucking into lemon pepper chicken with sweet red peppers and asparagus when I realized that he has cooked me dinner several times now (that was one of them) and I have cooked him dinner zero times. In my quick defense, I did make him a kick-ass chocolate peanut butter cake for his birthday, but come on - I've never made someone dinner before? Well now, I had to do something about that.

So I looked through cookbooks, browsed recipes online...and came up with what I thought was a simple, light menu. For dinner it would be pasta with parsley and parmesan. Before I go any further, I should mention Megan's fun food lesson of the week: there are two types of parsley. Flat leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley, seems to be ideal in most situations. It's bolder, as they say. Unfortunately, I saved my parsley research for after I got back from the grocery store with curly leaf parsley. And I was going to use it anyway - bold schmold - but a lack of lemons found me back at the store where I ran into flat leaf parsley for 99 cents. So, there we go.

Cooked spaghetti and tossed it with - brace yourself - just short of a stick and a half of unsalted butter, chopped parsley, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, and a bit of garlic salt.

Holy butter! I had a hard time melting 12 tablespoons of butter, but one pound of spaghetti is a LOT, and butter melts down quite a bit. In the end, the parsley and lemon shone through, making the pasta light and fresh with little bursts of the sharp parmesan. Though the butter refused any of the spotlight in the pasta, it greeted us when we reached the bottom of our plates, reminding us that there was indeed some fat in this thing.

Halved and peeled Bosc pears and arranged them cut side up in a baking dish. Drizzled with lemon juice and sprinkled with vanilla sugar (I mixed 1 tsp vanilla extract with 1/4 c sugar, but I could've used a bit more vanilla). Dotted with butter and put a couple tablespoons of water in the bottom of the pan before putting it in a 375 degree oven. Roasted for 30 minutes, turned the pears, then roasted for another 15-20 minutes. We topped our pears with vanilla ice cream and drizzled the juice from the bottom of the pan over the ice cream. Oh my.

Lying in bed that night, I could feel my body's confusion as it tried to make sense of all the butter I'd just consumed. I could feel it asking, What am I supposed to do with all of this? If you'd like to know what this is like, simply incorporate 1.5 sticks of butter into your evening meal. And you know what goes really well with butter? Lemon, parsley and pears.

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