Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spaghetti Al Limone (Lemon Spaghetti)

Spaghetti Al Limone
(Lemon Spaghetti)
serves 4
This recipe marries the sweet flavour of Amalfi lemons with fresh basil  to transport  you back to the sunny hillsides of the Amalfi coast of Italy if you've been  there and will make you long for the warmth of the Southern Italian coast if you never have.   While it makes a light summertime pasta dish, you can also kick-up the recipe with the addition of the Prosciutto ham and the heat of the red pepper flakes.


1 pound  spaghetti
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
½  cup fresh lemon juice, about 3 lemons
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ pound thinly sliced Prosciutto, cut into chiffonade (optional)


1.   Bring a large quantity of heavily salted water to a boil in a large pot over high heat.  When the water comes to a boil add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, according to package directions until al-dente', about 8 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, if you are going to use red pepper flakes, heat the oil add red pepper flakes and sauté in a small sauté pan for 1 or 2 minutes to allow the oil to absorb the pepper's spiciness.  Allow the red pepper oil to cool.   If you are not using red pepper flakes skip to step 3.
3.  In a large bowl or measuring cup,  whisk together the olive oil (including the pepper flakes if used), Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.
4.  Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Place the drained pasta in a large, high sided sauté pan over medium heat.
5.  Add the lemon sauce and toss the pasta to distribute the sauce, if the pasta  is too "tight" add the reserved pasta cooking liquid, ¼ at a time, and continue tossing until sauce "loosens up" to your liking.
6.  Add chiffonade Prosciutto, if you chose to add it, and continue to toss to distribute.
7.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil and serve immediately.

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