Friday, April 30, 2010

Lemon Tarragon Pasta

Sometimes you need something genuinely quick and easy to pull together for dinner.  For instance, when you've just returned from a way-too-long business trip to Dallas, Texas, and you are starving, but have next to nothing left in the fridge because your husband lived off cereal and take-out during your absence. 

Yes, the reason I haven't posted all week is for the above-stated reasons.  And I got home ready to eat just about anything, but not just anything.  I still wanted something wholesome and tasty, something that would say, "Yes, you are home, and you get to eat home-cooked meals again."  So I whipped together the perpetual comfort food: pasta. 

This is based on a pasta dish my mother used to make a lot when I was in high school.  It's simple, flavorful, and definitely hits the spot when you need something quick and filling.  You can make it a side dish alongside chicken and/or veggies, or fish, or you can just make a salad to go with it.  I sauteed some chicken sausage and mushrooms to have with it, and my belly is very happy now.  No more Tex-Mex for me.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that).

You probably already have all the ingredients for this - if you don't have tarragon, you can easily substitute basil (even dried basil if you're really desperate). 

Lemon Tarragon Pasta
serves 2


4 ounces whole grain spaghetti or angel hair
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon


1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it.  Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, probably about 5-7 minutes depending on the thickness of your pasta.

2.  At the same time that you add the pasta to the water, heat one tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  As soon as it's hot, reduce heat to low and add the garlic.  Cook, stirring, for less than one minute, until fragrant.  Be careful not to burn it.  Add the tarragon and lemon zest, and season lightly with salt.  Cook, stirring, for another minute.  Add lemon juice and stir.

3.  Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Drain pasta and return to the pot.  Add the lemon and tarragon mixture and the reserved cooking liquid, and stir well.  Stir in remaining oil and salt to taste.  Serve.



  1. A familiar favorite - and it is good with shrimp too!

  2. Sounds great! I'll be trying this tonight. I had a bunch of left over tarragon and needed a new way to use it up.