These four ingredients are pure magic. You could put any combination of them on the packaging of your product and I would be all in. Pita chips? Yes, please. Flatbread? Even better. Broccoli? Ohmygoshyes. So when I saw Deb’s recipe for spaghetti with lemon and olive oil, maxing out on so many of my favorite flavors, I almost cancelled baked ziti night right then and there. Then my husband told me how much he was looking forward to baked ziti night. Rats!
But I was in luck on Saturday night. We had been on an errand-spree in the morning, hitting up the lovely town of Rockville, Maryland. For those of you not familiar with the area, let me tell you a little bit about Rockville’s main drag. I have a dear friend who refers to it affectionately as RockVegas. There’s a lot of fluorescent lighting there. It is home to every single major chain store. Ever. Rockville is also home to a little gem of a restaurant called Urban Bar-B-Que, conveniently located next to a little gem of a craft beer store. Urban Bar-B-Que is where we go for meat. Good meat. My husband’s third favorite pulled pork sandwich and my favorite DC burger. As such, we are always looking for excuses to go to Rockville.
But after a full morning of errands and lunch at Urban, we’re always totally and completely stuffed. It’s serious food. So it’s only fitting that we eat a light, meatless dinner afterwards. Cue Deb.
This spaghetti is not unlike this pasta dish which is a perennial favorite, and one of the first dishes I ever posted on this little blog. But this is heavier on the lemon and lighter on the cheese. And that worked for me on Saturday night. I used angel hair because I wanted a pasta dish that was as delicate as a pasta dish can be. Italian at its best. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you need protein in your main dishes, this would make a great side for just about any entree. This will make multiple appearances in the spring.
To bring it to your table, you will need:
- 1 lb. spaghetti (I used angel hair)
- 3 lemons
- 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1/4 C heavy cream
- 1 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 C, plus more for serving
- ground black pepper
- handful of chopped basil
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.
While it’s cooking, zest the lemons until you have about a tablespoon of zest. Juice the lemons until you have about 1/2 C lemon juice.
When the pasta is done, use a heat-proof measuring cup to scoop out about 1 1/2 C pasta water. Drain the pasta. Dry out the pasta pot and boil the olive oil, cream, zest and 1 C of the pasta water for 2 minutes over high heat. Return pasta to the pot and toss till coated. Add the cheese and 1/4 C of the lemon juice, and toss till combined. If the sauce is not loose enough for you, add more pasta water. Taste the pasta and see if you want to add the remaining lemon juice.
Stir in the basil, and season with salt and lots of pepper. Serve right away with a drizzle of olive oil and, of course, more cheese.