The irresistibly rich flavour and creamy texture of this luscious Lemon Pasta with Saint Agur Cheese and Grilled Mahimahi is even more remarkable, given that, I'm embarrassed to say, was created from a bounty of leftover goodies I'd saved in the fridge from entertaining this past weekend. A few slices of bacon, a couple of mushrooms, a lump of creamy Saint Agur cheese, a soupçon of sour cream, the zest and juice of two lemons plus an orphaned filet of fresh Mahimahi became the impromptu ingredients to a simple and delicious pasta. Finished with some fresh chives from the garden and a flurry of fresh ground pepper, this mouthwatering mid-week wonder was a rich and creamy celebration of culinary spontaneity. As Erma Bombeck said, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" — likewise, when your fridge gives you leftovers, make pasta!"
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 slices bacon, thinly sliced
4 large crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 celery leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 lemons, zested
1 lemon, juiced
8 oz Saint Agur or Cambozola cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 lb Mahimahi
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chopped chives, plus extra for garnish
300g dried spaghetti
In a large cooking pot over medium heat, melt butter and oil. Add bacon pieces and cook, stirring often until bacon starts to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside in a small bowl. Add the sliced mushrooms and celery leaves to the pot and sauté until soft and golden brown, then set aside with the bacon. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, then set aside with the bacon and mushrooms. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Once cooked, drain and return to the pot set over low heat. Add the Saint Agur cheese and stir until melted. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked bacon-mushroom mixture and blend until well combined, and gently warm through over low heat. Add more sour cream or pasta water if the sauce becomes too thick.
While the pasta is rewarming, bring the frying pan back to medium heat and sauté the mahimahi until cooked through, then slice into large bite size pieces.
To serve, portion the pasta into 2 dinner-size serving bowls and top with mahimahi. Garnish with chopped chives, sliced lemon and a grind of white pepper. Serve immediately.