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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.

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

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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