This is one very good trick to have up your sleeve. The hardest part (and it's not even hard) is gathering the ingredients together. You can make the cream sauce ahead of time and simply heat it through when you are ready to serve. It has the right amount of luxury and elegance to be added to a holiday table but still manages to feel fresh and light. You can add some toasted pine nuts, too, for some texture.
rigatoni with lemon cream and arugula
2 c heavy cream
2 large lemons, juiced and zested
1/2 c parmesan, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz of baby arugula
1/4 c basil, sliced in ribbons
1 c cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 T olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb rigatoni (or any other pasta, of course), cooked al dente
Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and cook the garlic gently for a minute or so. Add the cream, lemon juice, zest about a teaspoon of salt and few turns of black pepper. Cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes while the sauce thickens (you can make it ahead to this point).
Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl, add the arugula, tomatoes, basil and cheese.
Pour the sauce over everything and stir until it all comes together and the arugula wilts a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.