Spring Flavors: Preserved Lemon & Parsley Pesto Pasta

Preserved Lemon & Parsley Pesto Pasta 

Spring is in the air here in Atlanta, and there's nothing that harkens back to warm weather better than the scent of fresh lemons. Preserved lemons are a savory condiment used in Morroco when preparing the lamb tagine. They add a depth of flavor to dishes never attained before. Separate the rind from the pulp and mince. Stuff the rind under the skin of a chicken and roast, or puree entire lemon slices with olive oil and a flavorful savory salt for a delightful vinaigrette. Here, the preserved lemons are paired with a light parsley pesto that provides a fresh bite.  This combination is perfect for a light spring meal. It tastes even better when dining al fresco!

1 Wedge of Bella Cucina Preserved Lemons
2 cups Italian parsley leaves 
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper 
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

1 pound of pasta 
{a short cigar shaped pasta, like fiori {flower}, gemelli, or a ricotta-filled tortelloni}

Remove the pulp and seeds from the preserved lemon. Discard the seeds and add the pulp a food processor.  Chop the lemon into fine dice. Slice the lemon rind length-wise into thin strips, then turn and cut into small dice cross-wise.  Add the parsley, garlic, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 
Process until the mixture is finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is pureed. 

Cook the pasta al dente,  according to the directions.

Toss the pasta with the parsley pesto mixture until the pasta is well coated. 
Add the diced preserved lemon.  
Serve as is or with grilled shrimp or chicken.

Buon Appetito! © 2012 Bella Cucina

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