You may have noticed that I love lemons and am always drawn to recipes featuring lemons, especially Meyer Lemons. On my first visit to Italy I went down to Positano, this beautiful coastal town on the Amalfi Coast. Lemons are part of the region. Limoncello is from that region and in every restaurant lemons were part of the menu.
One night we went to Il San Pietro Di Positano Hotel, where they featured a pasta with lemon cream sauce. This hotel is amazing and the food was too. It was very light and bursting with flavor. When I came home I found that my Trattoria cookbook, by Patricia Wells had a recipe for something similar. Since then many chefs have featured a version of this dish on their TV shows or websites. I have made a few additions, a pinch of chili pepper and julienned basil. I agree with Patricia Wells that this sauce demands fresh pasta. I used angel hair here but linguine would work just as well.
It goes great with grilled fish or chicken, even with a salad.
Angel Hair with Lemon Sauce
4 to 6 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pound fresh angel hair or linguine
Grated zest of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons basil, julienned
Freshly grated Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on, combine the butter, cream, lemon juice and red pepper flakes over low heat. As soon as the butter in melted, remove the skillet from the heat, cover, and set side.
In a large pot bring 6 quarts of water to a roiling boil. Add 3 tablespoons salt and the pasta, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook until tender. Drain, leaving a few drops of water clinging to the pasta so that the sauce will adhere.
Transfer the pasta to the skillet, off the heat, and toss to blend. Add the lemon zest, and toss once more. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the pasta to thoroughly absorb the sauce. Transfer to warm shallow soup bowls, shower with the cheese and basil and serve immediately.