It was a rainy afternoon-turned-evening and I was faced with the struggle of rummaging up something to eat. I was alone, and cooking for one is never that exciting (to me), I find a sweet pleasure in cooking for others, witnessing their satisfaction with each bite as your sign of endearment. Before I lamented at the thought of cooking for myself, a recipe popped into my mind, shifting my thoughts to excitement. It’s one that I’ve wanted to try and just so happened to be the perfect meal to brighten up this grey day, plus it was simple, really simple.
I read about Spaghetti al Limone by Tarajia Morell on her beautiful blog, The Lovage. Tarajia attributes her recipe to the Italian goddess Sophia Loren due to her fondness for spaghetti.
Spaghetti al Limone…
Just the sound of it had my mind racing around the curvy seaside of the Amalfi coast. The sounds of scooters buzzing by, the sing-song Italian ringing in my ears and the scent of those exquistley fragrant lemons, only found here along the Amalfi coast.
I know you’re probably thinking that pasta with lemon sounds overwhelmingly acidic, but you will be surprised, trust me. The lemon imparts a sense of brightness and
blends well with the warm nutmeg, cool cream, sharp pecorino, and fresh basil –– a quintessential taste of Southern Italy.
After my first bite, I was hooked, this recipe is a keeper and one that I’d love to play around with. My first thought was to melt anchovies with the garlic and add some briny capers, when I try it, I’ll let you know how it comes out. I read another recipe which mentioned adding a half of a lemon to the salted water used to cook the pasta –– another tip to try.
I recently served this to an Italian couple and you should have heard the Mmmms and Ahhhhs of delight, they even asked for the recipe! This is my version, give it a try and get swept away to the vibrant coastline of Amalfi.
Spaghetti Al Limone
500 grams spaghetti (you could also use linguini and I’ve even used fusilli lunghi, because I love the curly q’s, but spaghetti is traditional)
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 organic lemon, supreme and the zest
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Palmful of fresh basil, chifonade
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*Ladleful of pasta cooking water to moisten the sauce
Start your water to boil for the pasta and add a generous palmful of coarse sea salt to mimic the taste of the sea. Cook the pasta until al dente about 8-9 minutes.
Measure out the cream and add the freshly grated nutmeg to it and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, when it starts to foam add the chopped garlic and sautè until fragrant and beginning to take on a golden hue. Now, add the lemon supremes, lemon zest, and nutmeg-scented cream. Allow the cream to reduce and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Don’t strain the pasta, instead, using a pair of tongs transfer the al dente pasta to the lemon-cream sauce. If the sauce is too dense add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water and toss to combine, this will also impart a special flavor to the sauce. Add the basil chifonade and toss well. Top each portion with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmigiano and serve. Buon Appetito!
*Photos via Table Without Borders on a trip to the Amalfi Coast