The first time I made Spaghetti al Limone was during my undergrad. I was living with four other girls and, being me, went into cooking and cleaning fits whenever the stresses of academia were mounting.
I like to think of it as productive procrastination…
My roommates, each of whom were much more involved in sports and such than I have ever been, would often come home to three dozen cookies, a cake or two, litres of tomato sauce cooling on the counter, and a chicken roasting away in the oven. Their first instinct was always glee at not having to slog through the kitchen after a big practice whipping up their own meal. Their second was to make sure I was ok… I mean, not everyone deals with seemingly insurmountable deadlines by doing chores…
During one such time, I was going through a bit of a lemon phase. The dreary long nights at the end of the Fall semester had me craving sunshine so lemons were everywhere. Seriously. I put those bad boys in chicken, tall pitchers of lemonade, squeezed and zested into teatime treats, and literally anything else I could think of that needed a little kick of summer.
That is what led me to discover the wonder that is Spaghetti al Limone.
It’s so easy and delicious and, in my mind, you can never make it lemony enough! Now, upon taste testing my first go at this classic Italian dish, one of my roommates did scrunch up her face and promptly put her fork down.
“It tastes like Skittles…”
Well, you can’t win them all. And yes, I might have added a *tinge* too much lemon for some palates but, come on! Lemon! It’s the best!
Since then, I’ve toned down the lemony kick and balanced it with the perfect amount of smoky extra virgin olive oil, nutty Parmesan cheese, fresh leafy parsley, and salty little capers. It has become a staple in my “oh-man-we-have-nothing-to-eat-what-should-I-make-for-dinner” repertoire and I hope it will become that for you too!
Spaghetti al Limone
Serves 2 (with some leftovers, if you’re not too hungry at dinner)
250g dry spaghetti
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 2 lemons
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon dry chilli flakes
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente.
Meanwhile, whip up the sauce by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes, capers, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
When the spaghetti is cooked to al dente, scoop out and reserve about a half-cup of the cooking liquid and drain well. Pour the pasta back into the pot and stir the sauce through, making sure that each noodle is well coated. If needed, add a splash or two of the reserved cooking liquid to loosen the sauce up a bit.
Now, crown with a sprinkling of some fresh pepper and freshly grated Parmesan and dig into summer!