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Lemony Scallopini A La Linguini

November 7, 2010

It’s amazing how so few ingredients can turn into something that rivals a restaurant offering.  This is often a fairly expensive restaurant dish that can be made in 15 minutes with less than $10 worth of groceries to feed about 4 people.  Don’t delay, make this today!

I’ve also used the spellings scallopine and linguine in the tags for this post.

You can use any sort of thin meat you want. I’ve made it with chicken, pork and lamb.  I haven’t tried it with red meat because I have so many red meat recipes and it’s often the white meats that are the least expensive in small portions.  Beef seems to get more expensive when buying smaller packages.  I never spend more than $3 total on whatever thin meat I use for this Scallopini recipe for about 4 people.  Well, I generally eat half of what I make the first day, and half the next day for lunch, but I’ve been told I have an excessively large appetite.


About 100 grams of thin meat per person, such as “fast fry boneless pork chops” or boneless chicken breasts that you can pound flat by wrapping the meat in plastic wrap and then pounding flat with a hammer (super fun!)

Mushrooms (I used an on sale 227 gram prepackaged quantity)

Linguini pasta

1 lemon

1 cup of white wine, I buy the cheapest I can find ($7.50 for a bottle max) or you may substitute chicken broth

3 or 4 big spoonfuls of flour

Salt and pepper to season, I almost never use salt and pepper, but it really helps here since there are no other herbs or seasonings in the dish

Up to 250mls of whipped cream, it is essential that this is 35% whipped cream, nothing else will do

Some butter for frying

Start the water boiling for the linguini.  Do not add the dry noodles until it reaches a rolling boil when the liquid continues to boil even while you are stirring it.  This is the difference between pasta that sticks together and pasta that cooks evenly.

While the water is heating up, you can mix together 3-4 spoonfuls of flour with a sprinkle of salt and pepper on a plate.  Coat each piece of meat in the flour mixture.  I’m using thin pork chops today as I found a package with 6 thin ones for $2.65.

Now get everything else ready so that once you start frying the meat, you won’t have to stop again as the rest of the meal comes together very quickly.  Slice your mushrooms and your lemon to get it ready to squeeze the juice out of.

At this point, your water is probably boiling full tilt, so throw in enough linguini in for the number of people you are feeding.  Next, get your frying pan out, throw some butter in the pan and start heating it up to medium.  Put your meat in the pan.  Let it brown and then flip it and let it brown on the other side.

Since the meat is thin, it should be cooked all the way through almost immediately.  A couple minutes on each side is all it should take.  Set your meat aside on a plate while you finish the rest of the meal by making the sauce.

Using the same pan the meat just came out of (don’t clean it!), throw in more butter if necessary and all of the sliced mushrooms.  This is probably the point when you’ll be ready to strain your linguini.

In only a couple of minutes, the mushrooms will cook down (they shrink like crazy) and look all brown and delicious.  At this point, squeeze the juice of your whole lemon into the pan.

Your kitchen is going to start smelling incredible… Next pour a cup of white wine into the mix.  I keep a bottle of cheap red and white wine in my fridge at all times for recipes like this.  As long as you don’t plan on drinking it (I hate wine), it will last for months.  Sorry to people who like drinking wine who are horrified right now.  I know it normally doesn’t belong in the fridge, nor does it usually taste good even one day after opening, but wine that is going to be boiled has different rules.

Now add up to 250 mls of whipping cream.  Depends how much sauce you are trying to make, I usually only use about 2/3 of the 250ml carton.  The reason it is essential you use whipped cream is because any lower fat cream will “break” when it gets hot, especially in the presence of the lemon juice.  If the cream breaks, it means it curdles and you get weird white blotches instead of smooth creamy sauce.  It tastes the same, but certainly ruins the aesthetic and the whole restaurant atmosphere we are trying to create.

Here’s how the completed sauce should look like.  I let it bubble away for about a minute, and then it’s done.

Now all that is left is to put your plates together.  Linguini first.  Then one or two pieces of meat.  And finally add the sauce.

Here is the completed dish.  Just like in a restaurant, but done in about 15 minutes and costs about $5-10.  Less time than it would likely take to get a waiter to take your order and with less money than you’d likely be stuck leaving as a tip.

And just to give you an idea of how you can use this basic recipe to make varied meals depending on what is in your cupboard, here is a version I did substituting the linguini with mashed potatoes and adding red peppers and tiny pieces of bacon to the sauce at the same time you put the mushrooms in the frying pan.

Write about your own variations in the comments! Jump up.


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