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Spaghetti with burrata, parmigiano, and butter

Yesterday was one of those perfect New York spring days, where the entire city seems to come out of hibernation: flowers peek out from buds, and buds from branches; whole families take to the parks and streets to stretch their legs, stripping off layers as they walk; even the air feels like it’s testing out new wings, first with cool breezes, then easing into a still warmth that flushes your skin.

I spent most of the day basking in the sun on my friend’s rooftop, sipping sweet hibiscus tea over ice; it was glorious.

By the early evening, when I returned home, I wanted nothing more than to collapse onto my couch, contentedly worn out from doing absolutely zilch. Zero.¬†Nada. Yet, somehow, I threw together a few ingredients I had on hand and made what is now, quite possibly, my new favourite ‘school night’ meal. Simple, easy, and restorative — just like spring.

Spaghetti with burrata, parmiagiano, and butter
Serves 4

This is a one-pot-wonder that you may customize this any way you please. I tossed in some broccoli florets, spinach, and a couple of canned roma tomatoes, roughly chopped, just to get some veggies in there — but the beauty of this meal is that you can add just about anything you’d like. Feel free to experiment with pastas and cheeses, too. Next time, I think I’ll try orecchiette and pecorino.

Ingredients:
3/4 pound of spaghetti, or other dried pasta
1/2 pound burrata cheese, halved, creamy filling scooped out (reserve the firmer exterior for another use)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of fresh, coarsely ground pepper
2 cups broccoli florets (optional)
2 cups baby spinach (optional)
10 oz canned roma tomatoes, roughly chopped or diced (optional)
salt to taste
zest of one lemon

Directions:
Cook spaghetti in lightly salted water until just tender, but firm to bite (al dente). I threw in the broccoli with the pasta during the last two minutes of boiling time, and the spinach in the last 30 seconds — no sense using a whole new pot. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid. Drop the butter, cheeses, and pepper into the pasta, tossing until well combined. Add reserve liquid if dry. Salt to taste.¬†Spoon the spaghetti into bowls. Dot the pasta with the creamy burrata filling. Garnish with lemon zest.

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