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  • Writer's pictureDiana Scalia

Spring Pasta that Surprises

In my story Foodsick, I confess that I am happiest when I eat pasta regularly.

In my forthcoming cookbook, my department for this type of joy is titled Pasta and Other Sacred Carbs. I’d just be out of integrity if I called it any other way.


My latest pasta is quite dreamy for spring. I divined it twice this month when I had an unusual ingredient in the fridge.


Coconut Cream.


This comes in a can, and I quite believe that I’ve never used it before. Canned coconut milk, yes ... which may also be used here, but this cream is surely a food of the gods, and it makes this pasta extremely delicious.


One night I made the creamy pasta with shrimp and the second time, with pistachios. Next time it might be the shrimp with the pistachios, seriously! For now, my recipe here is the simplest version.


Before I get to the recipe, let me just say that unless you opt to go very heavy-handed with the cream (up to you ;), you’ll still have some leftover. Place unused portion in a glass or stainless bowl and cover for chilling; do not store in its can.


Then, perhaps do as I have done – whip it with a hand mixer to soft peaks! Enjoy it as a whipped cream spread with jam for toast/scones/breakfast biscuits, as dip for cookies, or - my favorite - top a favorite cake or dessert!


Now then, here is the Pasta recipe. Get your daily greens in, by serving the pasta over chopped fresh spinach, arugula, or mixed salad greens ~ delicious!


Spring Pasta that Surprises

½ lb (dried) linguine noodles

2 Tbs Butter

Extra-virgin olive oil to coat bottom of pan

1 shallot, diced

Zest and juice of one fresh lemon

½ cup dry white wine

Starchy pasta water

3 Tbs Coconut cream

Sea salt to taste (optional)

Pistachio dust = ¼ cup shelled pistachios crushed in blender / chopped finely

Toasted bread crumbs

Fresh chopped greens, for serving (optional)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for final drizzle (optional)


In a full stockpot of boiling water, cook linguine noodles al dente, per package directions (about 10 minutes) while preparing sauce for pasta.


Melt butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium-low flame. Cook shallot until soft. Add lemon zest and juice and coat cooked shallot well with lemon. Add wine and as pasta cooks, spoon in some of the starchy water. Stir well and as sauce begins to thicken, add coconut cream. Taste and add salt if desired.


When pasta is cooked just al dente, lift pasta noodles out of stockpot with a large fork or pasta server into sauce (or, strain pasta well and add to skillet). Sauce the pasta by stirring pasta gently in sauce, to coat well and continuing to thicken sauce. Sauce the pasta for a minute or two, to heat through.


Place greens in serving bowls; top with serving of pasta.  Top pasta with pistachio dust and toasted bread crumbs, and drizzle lightly with olive oil if desired.


Yields 2-3 servings.

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