One pot creamy lemon linguine with a toasted crumb topping

I always have food in the house, lots of food (especially with my Brexit stash still intact) but not always food that combines into a whole dish. If I am feeling a little lacking in energy or inspiration, and my child is particularly food fussy, I revert to one of my one pot pasta dishes.

This one pot lemon linguine is super simple. It takes 15 minutes from start to finish and is simple yet elegant and fussy child approved. I usually have a sad lemon knocking about and some cream cheese in the fridge. The crunchy crumb topping adds a nice bit of texture to the dish and makes it interesting and comforting. This Christmas, I found that we ate very little compared to usual. So I bagged any dry foods up in air tight bags or boxes and popped them in the cupboard. Then months later, I find the most random collection of things I had forgotten about. This year, while doing a dry cupboard tidy up, I had an abundance of leftover cheese biscuits hiding away, so this started the inspiration for this dish. The crumb topping can be made with toasted bread crumbs, but blitzed up cheese biscuits make a really delicious alternative crumb topping and reduces food waste.

I really a love a one pot pasta dish. I used to be a bit sceptical about them, but have totally been in love with them for the last few years. When cooking pasta, in the process, the pasta releases starch into the water. By cooking the pasta in less water and not straining away this water, it becomes a natural thickener and really silky base for a sauce. And there is less washing up to do, so really it is a win win!

ONE POT CREAMY LEMON LINGUINE WITH A TOASTED CRUMB TOPPING

  • 160 g dried linguine
  • 1 pint of hot stock, vegetable or chicken
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated or crushed
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 35 g of cream cheese
  • a selection of cheese biscuits/crackers, I use a mix of wholemeal, plain water biscuits and cheese melts
  • salt and pepper

THE HOW

Heat the oven to 180° C.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and lemon zest. You just want to heat the garlic and lemon zest to release aromas, not to cook through, about 30 seconds.

Add the lemon juice and the stock to the pot. Throw in the linguine and stir. It may seem like a small amount of water but it will be enough.

While the linguine is cooking, pop the cheese biscuits into a processor and blitz until crumb like. You won’t need many , I used 6 in total and any leftover crumb will be stored in an air tight container to use in the coming days. Turn the crumb onto a baking tray and pop into the oven until browned and crunchy. This literally takes 2 minutes, so watch you don’t forget about them and burn them.

Cook until the linguine is al dente. there should still be a good glug of liquid left in the pot. Turn off the heat and add the cream cheese and mix until the cheese has melted into the pasta and sauce. let it sit in the pot with the lid on for a few minutes.

Mix the toasted cracker crumbs in a small bowl with a little extra fresh lemon zest and some fresh black pepper.

To serve, plate the linguine and top with the crumb.

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