I stumbled on some Meyer lemons this week—very lucky, since we're at the tail end of their season. I immediately set out to feature them in a simple pasta recipe, settling on this one from Jamie Oliver. Turns out that lemons and pasta go together splendidly, the acidity playing nicely against the creamy pasta. Even without Meyer lemons, this would be great with the "regular" kind, though I'd recommend using less of them to avoid it turning too acidic.
It's a rather magical dish. The Parmesan, olive oil, and lemon juice are whisked together into a semi-emulsified, creamy sauce that comes alive when tossed with hot pasta. The starch in the pasta is the final thickening agents that completes the dish. For a more decadent version (with a hat tip to The Kitchn), a little mascarpone would bring this to even creamier heights.
- 1 pound pasta
- 3 meyer lemons, zested and juiced (or substitue 2 regular lemons)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- small bunch basil, leaves thinly sliced
In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining.
In a serving bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, Parmesan, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. It should form a loose emulsion.
Add drained pasta to bowl along with basil and toss well to combine. Add pasta water little by little until it forms a sauce. Serve with more grated Parmesan alongside.