CLASSIC pasta spaghettini with garlic and lemon








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We love lemon, and we love what lemon can do with pasta. Simply and elegantly. 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
  • finely grated zest from a lemon
  • three 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

for the pasta:

  • one pound spaghettini or capellini

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 half cup of the cooking liquid. Then drain.

>>Note: cooking spaghettini and capellini requires very careful watching. Do not let it get overly done. It cooks fast: be on your toes.

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 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.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir very well. Add the parsley and stir again. Check for salt and pepper. Serve.



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