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Linguini

I am just so happy! The entire family is home. My ROTC Cadet is home safe and sound from the Army Airborne School. (Thanks to all who prayed so diligently for him.) Of course he arrived safely yesterday, but his luggage didn’t make the connection. We are hoping to see his bags arrive sometime this morning.

In honor of his return, I fixed his favorite food: Linguine. Actually the recipe carries the name Almond Linguini Florentine, but our family just knows it as Linguini. There are some funny stories associated with this recipe. I cut this recipe out of the Dallas Morning News about twenty-five years ago. My husband says when I made it for him for the first time while we were dating he knew he would have to marry me.

The boys in the family share their father’s love for this dish. Once the boys became strapping teens I had to double the recipe. That meant that there was usually a serving or two left for their after-school “snack”. When linguini was in the refrigerator the boys would rush home after school to try and get the last helping. I suppose I should take it as a compliment to my cooking that the older two boys could threaten to come to blows trying to claim the last portion of linguini. The oldest (My ROTC Cadet) came up with a scheme that gets recounted every time I serve linguini. It was winter and we had several inches of snow on the ground with large drifts on the deck. As we cleared the table after dinner, he took the plastic storage container with the leftover linguini and buried it in one of the snowdrifts. The next day his brother arrived home from school first and rushed to the refrigerator to claim his prize. It was not to be found and its whereabouts were a mystery. Older brother eventually sauntered in and casually stepped out on the deck. He returned with his stash and popped it in the microwave. Younger brother was fit to be tied. I did make Oldest Brother share the leftovers, but had to congratulate him on his ingenious approach to food storage.

One of those writing projects I hope to get to is to writing a cookbook for my kids. There are so many recipes with good family stories attached. Until I get around to that, here is the recipe for Almond Linguini Florentine, aka Linguini.

Almond Linguini Florentine

3/4 cup chopped onion
3 T. butter
3 T. vegetable oil
3 T. flour
3/4 tsp. Dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh thyme (be generous with the thyme)
salt & pepper to taste
1 can (13 3/4 oz) beef broth
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 lb. Ham cut in thin strips
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds*
1/2 lb. Linguini, cooked al dente

In skillet sauté onions in butter and oil until limp. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook and stir over low heat until flour is well blended. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened.

Stir in mustard, ham, parsley, and almonds. Toss hot linguini with sauce. Garnish with parsley and almonds if desired.

*To toast almonds, spread them in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan. Bake at 350-degrees for 5-10 minutes.

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