Friday, February 20, 2015

#Cook the Books meets #Crazy Ingredient Challenge.....

The recipe I am sharing with you today is doing double duty for me.  I would like to first talk to you about Cook the Books.  Our host this month is Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.  Deb is lucky enough to live in Hawaii and she generously shares her life and her recipes with us on her blog.


Deb chose the book "Comfort me with Apples" by Ruth Reichl for this month's selection.  I must confess I had never heard of Ruth Reichl and I consider myself pretty in the know when it comes to food celebrities.  I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw the selection but I went online and ordered up the book to be delivered to my library.  Our county did not have the book but one further north did have it and sent it to me.  

Here is what happened when I got the book: I sat down one evening and I opened the cover, I read a couple of pages and then there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door and there was Ruth, with a smile and a bottle of wine.  We opened the wine, kicked off our shoes, sat down by the fire and began to talk.  Ruth shared her life with me, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad.  We laughed and we cried.  And then we laughed again.  We gossiped about all the celebrities that Ruth has met and we shared our innermost fears and secrets.  We became friends and I cannot wait to pick up her previous book "Tender at the Bone" and her fiction novel, "Delicious".  

Thank you so much Deb for choosing this book. I enjoyed it very much.  I have some good news for any of you who  would like to join this club....I will share it in Deb's words:

Submissions for this round of Cook The Books are due Monday, March 30, 2015. Anyone can join in the Cook the Books fun by reading and blogging about the book and cooking up a dish inspired by its contents. Let me know when your entry post is up by commenting on this post and/or sending me an email at: 

Ruth shared many recipes with us but the one that caught my eye was a meal she shared with Danny Kaye, who evidently was quite the chef (whoda thought!!).  Ruth did not get Danny's recipe but she did her best to replicate it and it sounded delicious....tender pasta tossed with a lemon butter sauce.

Then, as luck would have it, our Crazy Ingredient Challenge this month was to make a dish using Lemons and Basil.  I love our CIC makes me feel like I am a contestant on chopped.  I open the basket and inside I find lemons, basil and fresh egg fettuccine.  I am golden because I simply take the recipe from "Comfort me with Apples" and add some flavorful, fresh basil.  Perfection!!

You will find links to the rest of the club members basil and lemon recipes at the bottom of this post. You will also find information on how to join this great club as well.

I actually killed 3 birds with one stone with this recipe.
It fit the bill for Cook the Books.
It was perfect for Crazy Ingredient Challenge.
It was meatless and I served it for dinner on Ash Wednesday.

This pasta was delicious.

Tender, fresh egg fettuccine tossed with a buttery cream sauce flavored with basil and brightened up with lemon.  This recipe is sure to become a regular on Meatless Mondays or as a side to grilled chicken or fish.  It would also be delicious with some shrimp or crab tossed in along with the sauce. 

Basil and Lemon Pasta
adapted (very slightly) from Ruth Reichl

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 c. heavy cream
3 T. lemon juice
1 T. fresh basil, chopped (I used Gourmet Garden)
1 lb. fresh fettuccine, homemade or from the refrigerated section of your local grocer.
2 t. lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a deep, heavy skillet over med high heat.  Stir in the cream, lemon juice and basil. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while you cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the lemon basil cream, toss to cover, sprinkle with lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and toss again.  Turn into a large pasta bowl and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Serve while piping hot with additional cheese to pass at the table.  Print Recipe


  1. Cook the Books is such a fun concept - a culinary book club, if you will!
    This recipe is also perfect - I will definitely have it on a Friday during Lent this year.

  2. I bet this is sooo delicious! Topped with a little grilled shrimp and my family would be thrilled.

  3. Love it Wendy! I am always thrilled when I can 'multi-purpose' blog posts for multiple blog and life uses. ;-) Plus, lemony pasta dishes are among my favorites.

    I am so glad you enjoyed the book and make friends with Ruth. Check out her blog on her website to sometime if you haven't. I think you will love her other books as well. Thanks for joining in CTB this round. I think you are first this round. ;-)


  4. Cook the Books sounds great! I will have to find and read Ruth's works. Your lemon pasta looks great! Did I formally welcome you to CIC? If not, welcome!

    1. Thanks, I am enjoying CIC very much. This is only my second month but I already found myself looking forward to it.

  5. Jealous! Your Ash Wednesday meal was light years better than mine (frozen fish fillets). Hanging my head in shame - I was so busy editing my pictures for CIC I didn't have the energy or time for much else.

    I'll have to give your lemon butter sauce a try.

    1. Thanks Audrey, and keep that head held high....I am sure that frozen fish fillets will make it on the menu at this house at least once during this Lenten season.

  6. I was so interested in the Danny Kaye section! That pasta sounded wonderful.

    1. Thanks Alicia....I have always loved Danny Kaye.....since I was a little kid and saw him play Hans Christian Anderson....I am really dating myself, I don't think most people have ever seen that movie.

  7. That part of the book was fun to read and it's nice to see your Danny Kaye-inspired pasta.

  8. My thought when I read that account of her dinner with Danny Kaye was, YES, I want to make that, and it's on the list to do. Yours sounds very yummy.

  9. I was tickled that Ruth Reichl enjoyed cooking with Danny Kay, just as Jacques Pepin had also done. Apparently Danny was quite a food lover and I enjoyed seeing this post from Cook the Books

    1. Thanks, I really enjoyed the chapter that she spent with Danny Kaye as well.

  10. This looks so delicious, Wendy! And a great inspiration! Pinned and hope to make soon!

  11. Let me know what you think Amy and Happy Easter to all of you.

  12. I must admit the recipe did not catch my attention, but after reading your review I may reconsider :)

    1. It was delicious Simona but then again I am a carb junkie.


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