CLASSIC pasta spaghettini with garlic and lemon








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This is a marvelously simple and elegant combination. Ready in minutes. Because we have access to Meyer's lemons, we frequently use them in place of regular lemons: gives a slightly different flavor.

Note: if you don't have a neat lemon-zester -- a small version of a grater -- it would be wise, and worth it for your fingertips, to get one.

If you really love a lemon flavor, increase by a little the amount of zest and lemon juice in the recipe below.

for the sauce:

  • one-quarter cup olive oil
  • four garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • one-quarter cup cream
  • finely grated zest from a lemon
  • four tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • three tablespoons chopped parsley plus several sprigs
  • two or three pinches of red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one quarter cup freshly grated parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound spaghetti

Bring 4-5 quarts of cold water to a heavy boil. Add a couple tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta, stirring it well to get it separated and mixed. Cook to al dente. Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid. Then drain.

While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil and the garlic in a sauté pan (big enough to hold the pasta) over medium heat. Cook until it sizzles, a couple of minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, and a teaspoon of salt, plus several grinds of the pepper mill. Add the lemon zest and juice. Stir. Add the cream and a half cup of reserved cooking liquid. Bring it to a simmer. Use your judgment here: there should be enough liquidity to coat the pasta. Add more water if needed: the sauce should not be too dry. On the other hand, it should not be swimming. If it is dry, add a little more of the reserved liquid.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir very well. Add the parsley and the parmesan and stir again. Check for salt and pepper. Cover the pan, turn up the heat to high and steam hot for one minute! Serve.



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