For a quick, always-a-hit pasta dinner, this is a family dinner recipe I always go to. Adults and kids alike love this. It’s quick, has just a few ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, and the result is a gourmet-worthy meal.
I found this recipe in a sailing cookbook, of all places. In the early days of the America’s Cup, when Dennis Conner was the skipper of the “Stars and Stripes” yachts competing in the cup, he published a cookbook containing recipes from the members of his sailing crew. This recipe in particular caught my eye as an easy weeknight dinner, and it is now a staple in my household.
Family Dinner Recipe: Garlic Lime Pasta
This is a great, super-easy one-dish pasta dinner to make, with a flavor combo that may seem counter-intuitive at first, but it works, you’ll see. And amazingly enough everyone really loves it – kids and all.
Cooking time: 20 minutes.
- 1 box of penne pasta (I like to use Barilla Protein Plus, comes in the yellow box – it’s multigrain but doesn’t taste like it)
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (or more, never too much garlic)
- 1 cup of shredded asiago cheese (or parmesan works too. I find that the harder cheeses like asiago or parmesan distribute better than the softer cheeses which tend to just make one big clump)
- 1 stick of butter (I know, I know – but honestly, the butter and garlic are what makes this dish).
- Juice of 4-5 limes
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet (that can hold a pound of pasta), melt the stick of butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the garlic, and saute until golden, about 1 minute. Be careful with the garlic – once you see it starting to brown it’s too late – it will burn in the hot butter. Once the garlic is fragrant, it’s done – turn off the burner and let it sit.
- Boil your water (+salt) for pasta. Once boiling, add the penne, and boil for about 10 minutes.
- While the penne is cooking, and once the garlic/butter pan is no longer sizzling hot, add the lime juice to the garlic and butter in the pan. Don’t do it while the butter is still hot, because the lime juice will sizzle and spew all over your stove. The garlic/butter/lime juice can be room temperature for now, that is fine.
- Once the penne is cooked, drain it.
- Heat the garlic/butter/lime juice back up over medium heat. Once it is warm again, add the penne. Stir it all up so that the lime butter sauce is evenly distributed throughout the penne. It won’t look like there is much ‘sauce’, but taste one of the penne pieces – it will have the garlic lime flavor to it, and you’ll know you’ve mixed it well.
- Add the cup of shredded asiago cheese, mix well again – the cheese won’t really melt, but it’s shredded so it’s fine – as long as your penne is nice and warm/hot, you are good to go. Don’t be fooled by how it looks – it’s a transparent sauce so it won’t look like there is anything on your penne – but the flavor is definitely there.
- Distribute to serving bowls/dishes, with some extra asiago on the side for those who may want more cheese.
- Also shake on some salt/pepper/crushed red pepper to taste.
Serve with a simple salad. I like to simply dump a bag of romaine lettuce in a big salad bowl, and add some green or black olives, some cherry tomatoes if you have them, even some sliced pepperoncini if you like, some croutons if you have them. Top the salad with Olive Garden dressing – you’ll likely be able to find it in your grocery’s salad dressing aisle. If not, just use whatever Italian or other dressing goes over well with your family.