spaghetti al limone recipe (long post)
This is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and I would love to be able to make it at home. Unfortunately, I've had a hard time finding a decent recipe for it on any of the usual sites (epicurious, allrecipes, etc.) I know that sounds silly considering it's a very simple dish, but I am not good at improvising when it comes to cooking, so I need a well-detailed recipe to follow.
I did find the following recipe online, (apparently it's from the River Cafe Cookbook.) My only question is, doesn't it seem like it could use some garlic? Any thoughts on how to improve it? Thanks in advance.
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 3-4 lemons, the freshest possible
150ml olive oil
150g Parmesan, freshly grated
2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves finely chopped
Cook spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling, salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the pan.
Beat lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in Parmesan until thick and creamy. Season, and add more or less lemon juice to taste.
Add sauce to the spaghetti, then shake the pan to coat each strand with the cheese.
Finally, stir in chopped basil and some grated lemon zest at the last minute.
Although I don't have access to my copy, I recall Ruth Reichl's "Comfort Me With Apples" having a recipe that sounds scrumptiously like what you're looking for--does anyone else have a copy on hand?
Sorry to keep mentioning my Sophia Loren cookbook (Recipes and Memories) but it has some of the best Italian recipes I've ever seen. I originally bought it for my sister in law,mostly because she's a big fan,and her cooking suddenly improved 100%! I raved about everything she cooked so much she bought me a copy.
SOPHIA'S SPAGHETTI AL LIMONE
3 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
zest of 2 or 3 lemons, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Melt butter and saute garlic, can remove when golden if you like. Add lemon, 1/4 cup cream and salt and pepper.
Add other 1/4 cup heavy cream to cooked pasta and add all to sauce, toss well. Serve with lots of grated cheese.
I've seen lemony pasta recipes in Diane Seed's book but the book is in the other room and I'm too lazy so I searched Google Groups and turned up the below. It's a great cookbook, not necessarily "the best this or that" but full of simple and widely varied ideas, 1 per page:
Here are two from Diane Seed's _The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces_:
Linguine with Lemon Sauce:
500g/1lb linguine or fine fresh pasta
250ml/8fl oz double cream (1 cup heavy cream)
100ml/3.5 fl oz grappa or acquavitae
Grate the colored rind of one of the llemons and put on one side. Remove
the white pith and cut the fruit pulp into very small cubes. Squeeze
juice from the second lemon and keep separately. Put the cream, lemon
cubes, and grappa into a pan and heat gently. Simmer untill the sauce has
become thicker. Cook the pasta folllowing the packet directions carefully
to avoid over-cooking. Remove the sauce from the heat and slowly add the
lemon juiice. Return to a low heat to cook for 1 minute, stirring all the
Now add 2 teaspoons of grated lemon rind, stir well and pour over the
drained pasta. Mix the sauce into the pasta and turn into a heated
serving bowl. Put a few strands of lemon rind on top and serve.
Tagliolini with Lemon Sauce
500g/1lb taliolini, preferably fresh
1 clove garlic
25g/1oz (2tbsp) butter
1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) crushed, dried chile pepper flakes
100g/4oz cooked ham
500 ml/16fl oz double cream (2 cups heavy cream)
Mince or chop the garlic into minute pieces. Melt the butter and gently
fry the garlic untill it is golden brown. Add the crushed chiles. Wash
the lemons and grate the colored rind or zest very finely, being sure not
to grate the tough white skin which will make the sauce bitter. If you
use a zester the fine threads of lemon can also serve as a garnish.
Cut the ham into fine matchsticks, and add to the garlic and butter. Heat
gently, then add the lemon rind and the cream. Simmer uncovered for just
under 1 hour. Heat a large pan of water and when it comes to the boil
throw in the tagliolini. Drain it immediately because this process is not
to cook the pasta, onlly to make it more flexible and less fragile.
Turn the sauce into a large pan and add the drained pasta. Cook the pasta
gently in the sauce for the required time, usually very few minutes. Add
salt to taste. Add a little more cream if the sauce has become too dense,
but be careful not to "drown" the pasta. Turn into a heated serving dish,
decorate the top with fine threads of lemon rind and serve.
Here's mine. I could eat this five times a week. I know you said you aren't much for improvising, but you really ought to fiddle with the proportions to get it just how you like it.
for a pound of linguine:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 (or up to 1) tsp. hot pepper flakes
3 (or up to 5) large cloves of garlic, minced
3 (or up to 5) anchovies (from a jar or can packed in olive oil)
1 hefty lemon, zest and juice (or 2)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated reggiano parmesan
When you throw the pasta into the water, heat the oil and the pepper flakes in a 3 qt. saute pan. When it's hot, add the garlic and anchovies, and saute until the garlic is light brown and the anchovies have melted. Then turn off the heat and add the zest and the parsley. (Sometimes I add the zest earlier, and let it sizzle a bit.) Cook the pasta al dente, drain while allowing a little water to cling to it, and add to the pan. Toss, add the lemon juice and half the cheese, toss, and serve with the remaining cheese. Serves 2-6.
There are infinite variations if you want to add a vegetable. I often throw a small head of cauliflower into the pasta water before cooking the pasta, boil it until it's pretty soft, then cut out the center stem and saute it a bit, mashing it into little bits that will cling to the pasta (better with a shape than with linguine). Also good with broccoli, or escarole. Add a bunch of chiffonaded arugula at the end. Shred a head of radicchio and saute it. If you want to be Sicilian, toast 1/4 cup of pignoli and add them, along with 1/4 cup raisins.
Let me know how you like it!