Recipe of the Week: Feasting on an Italian summer with this lemon spaghetti

You can use cream in this lemon spaghetti or leave it out. Photo by Lauren Volo.

You can use cream in this lemon spaghetti or leave it out. Photo by Lauren Volo.

For many of us, hot afternoons mean simple dinners.

This lemon spaghetti is a light, easy meal, not to mention a great way to use up any lemon olive oil you might have in your pantry. “Preserving Italy” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23) author Domenica Marchetti suggests cutting back on the cream or cutting it out altogether, if you’d prefer. Regular olive oil and spaghetti are fine to use. Serve with shrimp or fish, or a salad, or both.

Spaghettini al Limone

Sorrento and the towns along the Amalfi Coast spill out into the Bay of Naples in a riot of color. This slice of southern Italy, famous for its beaches, profusion of flowers, staggering cliffs and narrow coastal roads with hairpin turns, is drop-dead gorgeous. The food is fresh and zesty — think tomatoes, garlic, seafood and lemons. Lots of lemons.Sorrento’s aromatic and sweet lemons are known the world over. And they appear in many dishes. This one, spaghettini al limone, has become something of a tourist must-have for people visiting the region, but with good reason. It’s simple, and simply delicious. Use the best organic lemons you can find to give this dish its due.
— Domenica Marchetti

1/4 cup lemon olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 Tbsp. juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. spaghettini (thin spaghetti)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling
1 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it generously.

While the water is heating, make the sauce. Heat the lemon oil and lemon zest in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring now and again, until the zest starts to sizzle gently. Stir in the cream and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the cream is thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.

Cook the spaghettini according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the sauce. Toss gently to combine. Add the cheese, parsley, basil and a few grindings of pepper and toss again. Add a splash or two of cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Toss once more and serve, sprinkling a little more cheese on each serving. Serves 4.

— From “Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions” by Domenica Marchetti (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23)


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