Pasta al Limone

I “test” recipes for Cook’s Illustrated.  Not as glamorous as you may think.  Really just add it to the long list of other things I do, that I do not get paid for.  I randomly get recipes mailed to me to complete within a few weeks, along with a survey, just like homework.  This makes me happy, sometimes I have to cram, and stay up late, just like the good ol’ days, which strangely enough also makes me happy!  I recently received a pasta dish.  I saved it to make the night before my marathon, to carbo load.  It was so easy, and tasty, and helped load up my quads with additional glycogen.

What this picture illustrates besides the ingredients, is some of my favorite tools for the kitchen.  The microplane to zest lemons and shave the parmesan, the small measuring cup with the slanted measuring graduations, so you don’t have to pick it up to see how much is in there, the olive oil dispenser, and the teeny tiny cutting board that was handed down to me from my mom, the only thing missing is my vegetable peeler, more on that later.

Pasta al Limone:

Recipe inspired by Cook’s Illustrated.

  • 454g or 1lb  pasta
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot minced (up to 3 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 whipping cream
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese shaved using a microplane
  • fresh basil chopped

Prepare pasta according to package instructions, al dente, don’t forget the salt in the boiling water.  Reserve 2 cups of cooking water.  My tip here, I am sure I read this in Cook’s Illustrated is to place a measuring cup into the colander while the pasta is cooking, otherwise, if you are like me, you only remember the water, once it is down the drain, irretrievably lost.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in dutch oven, add shallot and 1/2 tsp salt, cook or sweat down for approximately 2 min.  Whisk in 1  cup of reserved pasta water, cream and simmer for 2 min.  Remove from heat, mix in pasta, stir until coated, add 2Tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cheese and freshly ground pepper.

Let stand for a few minutes, toss again, and serve with chopped basil and parmesan.  The longer it stands the more the sauce thickens, like when you go up for seconds, it is really nice and thick.

The Verdict:

I really liked this dish.  It reminded me of a risotto that I make with lemon zest,  that I need to make again soon.  One day I will post that recipe, it is a keeper, I have been making it for years.  The sauce was a bit too runny, so I suggest a cup of pasta water to start with and add more if required.  It did thicken up for seconds and was great the next day as well.

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2 responses to “Pasta al Limone

  • Lisa

    Oh Dilek, don’t underate our important “job” with Cook’s Illustrated… without the testers, there would be no test kitchen! I think we need to have a “peeler” face-off. I feel like my veggie peeler is an extension of my finger…

  • Dilek

    Oh yes, it is an important job, no under estimating that. I wish Cook’s would send me some of their testing tools, then I really would feel like I was in the test kitchen, I love the ovens they have, the dial to set the temperature, so cool.

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