Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil (al Limone)

I ate at an incredible restaurant in Chicago way back on October. Em and I shared Cacio e Pepi. It was amazing. This recipe reminded me of that in many ways - simple ingredients to make a flavorful sauce. It takes less than 20 minutes to make and is an amazing side dish or a super-simple main course (if you have a husband who will just eat pasta and no meat for dinner).

Taken from Cook’s Illustrated, January 2011
Serves 2 to 3

1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb pasta
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 medium shallot, minced (about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
1/8 C heavy cream
1 tsp finely grated zest and 1/8 C juice (from about 2 lemons)
1/2 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 C), plus more for serving
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, shredded

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add salt and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, unal al dente. Reserve 1 C cooking water, drain pasta and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/4 tsp salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 3/4 C reserve pasta cooking water and cream into pot; bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove pot from heat, return pasta, and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Cover and let pasta stand for 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistently with remaining 1/4 C reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil and sprinkling with cheese.

My Notes:
This was so good! It was super simple to make and was a great side dish. We had it with chicken saltimbocca. My only complaint was that it was really salty. Next time, I would add far less salt to the cooking water and would not add any salt at other points in the recipe.

We ate this with chicken saltimbocca. The flavors really complimented each other.

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