Pasta al Limone

Pasta al Limone

As with all simple dishes, it’s all about the technique! This pasta could be put together in minutes yet be equally satisfying for a simple weeknight dinner as it could be for a special dinner occasion. It’s stunningly delicious (not light on calories, however.)

When the pasta is cooked and “sauced” perfectly – you need nothing else on the plate!

I’ve seen recipes that add olive oil to the pasta boiling water (do not do that!!!) I’ve seen recipes that do not specify the time needed to boil the pasta (should be a bit less than al dente,) as well as recipes where pasta and sauce are on a plate, yet one has nothing to do with the other…

What makes a perfect pasta dish, is each pasta noodle being perfectly coated with the sauce! You shouldn’t really see that much sauce on the bottom of your plate – it should be perfectly “married” to your pasta!

The ingredient proportions are adapted from bonappetit.com

So that’s what we are going to accomplish with this recipe. Here are some tips:

  • Do not add oil to the pasta boiling water, that will coat the pasta and prevenet it from absorbing the sauce!
  • Cook the pasta 30-45 seconds less than the package instructions to get it to al dente. It will finish cooking in the sauce. This way, your pasta will have some potential to absorb the sauce as well as not break and fall apart.
  • Do not discard pasta cooking water. That starchy water is what turns the sauce from sticky to creamy, smooth and sauce deliciousness.
  • Boil the pasta in the minimum amount of water you need to get it submerged. Again, we want that pasta water to be starchy!

Ok, let’s get cooking!

Yields4 Servings

 12 oz spaghetti
 ¾ cup heavy cream
 zest of 1 lemon
 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
 ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
 2 tbsp lemon juice
 freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
 chives, more lemon zest, freshly shaved Parmesan for garnish, optional

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

One of the biggest tricks with pasta, is using starchy pasta water. To make that water as starchy as it can be, don't add too much water to the pot. Add the minimal amount you think you will need to fully submerge and cook your pasta.

2

Heat cream in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, stirring, until it begins to simmer. Stir in lemon zest.

Reduce the heat to low and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated before adding the next piece and the sauce looks saucy, creamy and emulsified. Removed from heat.

3

Add pasta to a pot of salted water and cook as per the package instructions. Except, cook 30-45 seconds less than what the box recommends to cook to al dente. Don't worry, pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. If you overcook the pasta, it won't absorb the sauce as well, won't get coated with sauce as well and will break.

Do not add oil to the pasta. Doing so will prevent the sauce from properly attaching to the pasta.

4

Using tongs, transfer your almost al dente pasta to the cream sauce, and put it back on medium heat. DO NOT DRAIN OUT THE PASTA WATER.

Sprinkle Parmesan over the pasta and add about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water that you have left behind in the pot where you cooked the pasta. Keep cooking your pasta in sauce until the cheese is melted and the pasta is cooked and evenly coated in sauce, just a couple of minutes.

YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP ADDING PASTA COOKING WATER. As you keep stirring your pasta, you will notice the liquid gets quickly absorbed. So keep adding pasta cooking water a tablespoon at a time, to get your pasta silky and saucy! Taste, season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and serve immediately.

Feel free to garnish with chives, lemon zest, Parmesan and/or freshly ground black pepper.

Ingredients

 12 oz spaghetti
 ¾ cup heavy cream
 zest of 1 lemon
 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter
 ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
 2 tbsp lemon juice
 freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
 chives, more lemon zest, freshly shaved Parmesan for garnish, optional

Directions

1

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

One of the biggest tricks with pasta, is using starchy pasta water. To make that water as starchy as it can be, don't add too much water to the pot. Add the minimal amount you think you will need to fully submerge and cook your pasta.

2

Heat cream in a large heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, stirring, until it begins to simmer. Stir in lemon zest.

Reduce the heat to low and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated before adding the next piece and the sauce looks saucy, creamy and emulsified. Removed from heat.

3

Add pasta to a pot of salted water and cook as per the package instructions. Except, cook 30-45 seconds less than what the box recommends to cook to al dente. Don't worry, pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. If you overcook the pasta, it won't absorb the sauce as well, won't get coated with sauce as well and will break.

Do not add oil to the pasta. Doing so will prevent the sauce from properly attaching to the pasta.

4

Using tongs, transfer your almost al dente pasta to the cream sauce, and put it back on medium heat. DO NOT DRAIN OUT THE PASTA WATER.

Sprinkle Parmesan over the pasta and add about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water that you have left behind in the pot where you cooked the pasta. Keep cooking your pasta in sauce until the cheese is melted and the pasta is cooked and evenly coated in sauce, just a couple of minutes.

YOU WILL NEED TO KEEP ADDING PASTA COOKING WATER. As you keep stirring your pasta, you will notice the liquid gets quickly absorbed. So keep adding pasta cooking water a tablespoon at a time, to get your pasta silky and saucy! Taste, season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and serve immediately.

Feel free to garnish with chives, lemon zest, Parmesan and/or freshly ground black pepper.

Pasta al Limone
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