The temperatures are finally warming up here in New Jersey, and I, for one, have had all the heavy, winter Sunday dinners that I can bear. So what did I do the first Sunday that it hit 80 degrees? I brought out the lemons and made one of my favorite, light pasta dishes of all time. Spaghetti al limone. It just makes you think of sunshine and summer, and the joy of dining al fresco. I took one bite and immediately forgot about the long, cold winter that we just finished struggling through. I looked at my case of La Fede San Marzano Italian Plum tomatoes, and thought, “see you in September!” It’s nothing but fresh pasta sauces for me now. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good heavy “gravy,” but by the time summer rolls around, I honestly can’t take it any more. Please remember, that it’s red sauce (gravy) for Italian families every Sunday. At least that’s the way it is in my family. My parents are 94 years old and look forward to that Sunday gravy, week after week. But for a few months every year, they are flexible and enjoy the sauces made from fresh, summer ingredients.
I think you will enjoy the simplicity of this dish, as well as the light, fresh, citrusy flavor.
1 pound spaghetti
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( 3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1 TBSP grated lemon zest
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, slivered
1. In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted, boiling water until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, combine cheese and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the olive oil until mixture becomes thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the basil and stir.
3. Pour sauce over cooked spaghetti in serving bowl. Toss thoroughly.
4. Serve with grated cheese and freshly ground pepper.