This is a simple summer recipe that is much tastier than you’d expect. I’ve seen many variations on spaghetti with “lemon sauce” that range from merely squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice into a bowl and mixing with with olive oil and salty pasta water to others that add ricotta or heavy cream. I have two tips: 1) don’t overdo it with the lemon. A little bit seems to go a long way, and you can always add more if you feel the lemony taste is lacking. But if you use too much to begin with, the lemon will overpower the whole thing. 2) use whole wheat spaghetti. I find that whole wheat spaghetti doesn’t taste all that different from “regular” spaghetti while other types of pasta, such as penne, really do have a different taste that may not be pleasing to all. I happen to like whole wheat pastas, but I know not everyone does.
I’m using Italian portion sizes since the pasta would only be a first course. You may need to up the doses a bit if you like an abundant bowl of pasta.
Spaghetti al limone
Recipe for 4
320 grams (about 10 ounces or so) of spaghetti
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest chopped into tiny pieces
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
parsley, parmesan and salt to taste
optional – a dollop of ricotta cheese or heavy cream mixed in at the last minute; if you are using the ricotta, thin it out in the sauce with a bit of pasta water
While the spaghetti is cooking in salted water (they say to add around 10 grams of sea salt per liter of water; remember – only after the water starts to boil!), saute the garlic cloves in a small pan over low heat for a couple of minutes in one tablespoon of the olive oil. After a couple of minutes, add in the lemon zest until it is all softened. Take off heat, and when it has cooled a bit, add in the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. You can add in a bit of the salted pasta water to amalgamate and make it “saucier.” I usually toss out the whole garlic cloves at this point. After you’ve strained the pasta, toss with the lemon sauce. Add more oil if necessary (or the ricotta or heavy cream if you are using them). At this point, add salt, parmesan and chopped parsley to taste. Enjoy!