Monday, July 30, 2018

Spaghetti al Limone

The backyard lemons continue to be in full bloom. As in the last post, I am always looking for ways to use up the backyard bounty of lemons.

I got this recipe via email from my Milk Street subscription. What appealed to me were the simple ingredients, quick preparation time (hello weeknight meal!), bright flavors, and the use of a lemon.

With this recipe, I also appreciated the use of starchy pasta water along with a generous bit of butter to thicken the sauce instead of some recipes which call for cream. This leads to a cleaner, lighter, and brighter finish.

This Italian-based recipe comes from the Campania region of Italy where there is an abundance of lemon trees along the Amalfi Coast.

Spaghetti al Limone (serves 4)


Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, divided
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon to start then adjust accordingly)
  • 10-12 ounces spaghetti or linguini
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (plus extra for the chef!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley (or basil leaves)
  • finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
  • Prep lemon zest, herbs, and mince garlic. Preheat 2 quarts of salted water for pasta.
  • In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter (I also added some olive oil to the mixture). Add the minced garlic and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute
  • Add the white wine and simmer until reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Bring pasta water to a boil. Cook the pasta until 2-3 minutes short of the directions (pasta will continue to cook later in the skillet).
  • As pasta nears time, ladle of 1 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta
  • Return the skillet to medium high heat, stir in the reserved pasta water, and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta and stir to mix. 
  • Lower the heat until gently simmering.
  • Add 2 remaining tablespoons of butter,  a very generous grind of black pepper, the lemon juice and zest, and the parsley.
  • Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened and the extra water has evaporated. This is a key step. You don't want a watery sauce so simmer until the pasta glistens with starch and fat and the sauce has thickened.
  • Transfer to serving dishes and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish with a lemon slice or a sprig of fresh parsley or basil