Easy Sunshiney Lemon Pasta- for Gray Days

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally gave in and bought Meyer lemons for the first time this month. Easier than I thought, actually: Freshdirect suddenly has them, and who am I to argue with that? I threw a few pounds into my order and hoped for the best. They were delivered just before Brooklyn got 2′ of snow dumped on it, so I had several snowed-in days to experiment.

The first thing I did was make Meyer lemon curd. I know that here’s the place where I’m supposed to gush about how awesomely superior Meyer lemons are to other lemons and blah, blah, blah, but honestly– I couldn’t taste the difference in the curd. It was delicious– as lemon curd always is. However, it wasn’t until I tried it squeezed over my pasta that I could really taste the difference– it’s much mellower than I’m used to, but just as bright. I made up a super-quick recipe that would highlight the flavor– and liked it so much that I made it three days in a row! You can prep and make the sauce in its entirety in the time it takes spaghetti to cook with time left over– and if you choose to make it with angel hair, you can just start it while the water is heating up. I was out of strands, so I used super-fancy unlabeled pasta from a gift basket a friend gave us this time. Strands are better, but anything will work.

As you can see, I tossed a giant handful of basil on top. I was able to get microbasil from a stand at the farmer’s market this week– it was just so cute! Yep, it was an impulse buy, but a nice treat when it’s super gray out; any sweet herb will work in its place, or you could leave it out and the pasta would still be delicious.

Before the recipe, a quick note on my conflicted feelings about Freshdirect: I feel horrendously guilty having my groceries delivered. I have no kids, after all, and individual items are way more expensive. However, I justify it in the following ways: it’s really hard to get fresh produce and high quality meats within easy carrying distance of my apartment (within a mile or so, as I don’t have a car), and being able to see the total in my cart before I check out each week makes it much easier for me to stay within my budget– so I actually spend less in the end… so long as I remember to leave room for the farmers market.

Meyer Lemon Pasta with Basil

(serves 1, but easily scalable)

3 oz dried pasta of your choice
1/2 T butter
1/2 T olive oil (or other neutral oil of your choice)
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 Meyer lemon, separated into juice and zest (or half the equivalent amount of standard lemon)
1 T dairy liquid of your choice (I’ve been using buttermilk, but cream, sour cream, or milk would do fine)
1 T parmesan or romano cheese
1/4 c fresh basil or other sweet herb
Pinch freshly ground pepper

Boil  salted water. Put the pasta in the pot and stir once.

On medium-low heat, melt butter and oil in a mid-sized saute pan. Add crushed garlic and cook ~1 min, until fragrant but not brown. Add lemon zest and stir, then lemon juice. Turn off the burner, but don’t remove the pan.  Add dairy liquid. Stir. Reserve 1/4 c of cooking water for the pasta pot.

When pasta reaches al dente, drain, then dump into the pan with the lemon sauce. Turn the heat on low and toss until the pasta is coated. Add the cheese and pepper, then toss again. If more liquid is needed to coat the pasta evenly, add from the reserved cup, 1 T at at time. Turn off the heat, then toss in your herbs. Toss once more, then serve.


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