November 17, 2014

Lemon Spaghetti

When I worked at Wish Cafe, a fusion restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut years ago, my co-worker used to order the lemon papardelle whenever she was off duty. The dish sounded tempting to me, but I always opted for the truffled potato pillows and fried calamari watercress salad, menu items that I couldn't or wouldn't make at home. When Alan ordered spaghetti with lemon at our neighborhood restaurant a few weekends ago, I tried a bite and was surprised how something so simple could be so pleasing. However, making it at home wasn't as simple as I assumed it would be.

I tried two recipes, but I found the lemon a little overpowering in both. I'd like to try this dish with butter instead of olive oil and a little less lemon. A splash of chicken stock might even be helpful. So, although this recipe is good and lemony, I'm still on the hunt for a more subtle lemon flavor. Let me know in the comments if you have a great recipe for lemon spaghetti and I'll give it a try.

Makes 4 servings

1 pound spaghetti
1 clove garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
Bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1. Submerge the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water and give it a quick stir. Cook the spaghetti to 'al dente'.

2. Cut the garlic in half and rub an exposed side all around the inside of a large serving bowl so that the garlic flavor coats the surface. Discard the garlic. Add the lemon juice and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking rapidly. Mix in the salt, pepper and cheese.

3. When the spaghetti is 'al dente', reserve a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta, adding it to the serving bowl. Mix the pasta with the lemon sauce to coat evenly and add in a splash or two of the pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce if needed. Sprinkle the pasta dish with extra Parmigiano cheese, fresh parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

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