Lemon Lovin ;)

I LOVE LEMONS! When the warmer weather arrives, there is nothing I love more than eating light, healthy, flavorfFettucine-with-Lemon-47ul meals. To achieve this, I love incorporating lemon juice and zest into my dishes to create a zesty and vibrant punge of bright flavors. I love eating colorful salads, pastas, and poultry and fish with lemon. Not only does lemon add SO much flavor to dishes and has the ability to shine through, it also has many added nutritional benefits like cleansing the body from toxins in addition to its antibacterial properties. It is also a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity and help absorb the iron when consumed with iron rich foods. Below you will find some of my favorite recipes to make using lemons! My obsession with lemons came from falling in love with the beautiful country of Italy and its southern coast known for the most production.

The Amalfi southern coast of Italy  features some of the most beautiful and hypnotizing cities like Capri, Napoli, Postiano, Sorrento, and Pompeii. These beautiful cities over look the water and grow the most amount of lemons in the ENTIRE WORLD! There are lemons growing in just about everywhere you go. The lemons there happen to also be the size of a baseball 😉 With an overload of all these lemons, its not a surprise that they add lemon to just about any dish they make. Their national drink, the Limoncello, is a refreshing Italian lemon liquor made from lemon zest and peel that is steeped with rectified spirit and mixed with a sugar syrup to sweeten it up. 

Beautiful Italian music that is sure to put you in a good mood! Happy cooking! 🙂

Lemon Basil Spaghetti

Recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound of spaghetti/ Linguini (regular or whole wheat)

1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

2/3 cup olive oil(extra virgin or lemon infused)

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt+pepper to taste

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

2 chopped cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons capers

Directions: Boil salted water and cook spaghetti for 9-11 minutes until al-dente. In a separate bowl combine the lemon juice, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, and capers.Chop the two cloves of garlic finely and add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Once cooked, scoop the hot pasta into the serving bowl and add the lemony dressing.Top with lemon zest. *I like to serve mine on a bed of spinach or arugula with some grilled fish or shrimp.*

Baked Lemon Ziti

Recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

Ingredients

1 pound ziti pasta

Sauce

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of flour

3 and 1/3 cups milk

Zest of 2 large lemons
¾ cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Topping
⅔ cup plain breadcrumbs
⅓ cup grated Parmesan
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a 13x9x2 inch pan. Boil water and cook ziti pasta until al-dente, about 8- 10 minutes. For the sauce, start of by melting the stick of butter in a sauce pan and add the flour, whisking until smooth. This should take about 2 minutes. Add the milk and lemon zest whisking quickly so that is stays  smooth. Take down to medium heat and stir frequently for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. In a large bowl combine the ziti pasta and the sauce until well incorporated. Pour in you buttered dish. In a separate bowl make the topping by mixing together the breadcrumbs and parmesan and spread evenly over the top of your pasta. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Lemony Tuna Pasta Salad
 Ingredients:
1 pound bowtie pasta
2 cans tuna
1 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup chopped orange bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt +pepper to taste
Directions
Cook pasta al dente for about 9-11 minutes once salted water has come to a boil. Meanwhile the pasta cooks, chop spinach, tomato, cucumber, yellow and orange peppers, olives, and basil. Place cut veggies in serving bowl. When pasta is cooked al-dente, rinse with cold water to stop cooking processes and to take heat away. Add to the serving bowl with cut veggies. Top with olive oil, lemon juice, zest, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Stir well and serve right away or keep in fridge.
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