Monday, January 02, 2006

Zesty Pasta: Meyer Lemon, Yogurt, and Parmesan Tagliatelle

This pasta is the product of Amanda Hesser's obsession. In her book, Cooking for Mr. Latte, she mentions Meyer lemons at least a half a dozen times. They're hybrids, according to the Oxford Companion to Food, of a lemon and an orange or a mandarin and are sometime called "sweet lemons" or "limettas." The rind is thinner and more orange than ordinary lemons, and you can only get them in late December and January. They're less acidic and very fragrant. I've made a few versions of this pasta--the original recipe calls for linguine, creme fraiche, and arugula--but the key is the lemons, everything else is negotiable.

Zesty Pasta
(adapted from Amanda Hesser's Linguine with Meyer Lemon Zest, Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Cheese)

Boil well-salted water for:
1 pound flat long-noodled pasta (I used tagliatelle, but linguine, pappardelle, etc. would work)

While the water boils, find a large serving bowl, and grate into it:
A handful of parmesan

Zest, into the serving bowl:
2 Meyer lemons
(Reserve the juice for later)

1 large handful of asparagus (the original recipe calls for 3 handfuls chopped arugula, I've also used fresh baby spinach to good effect. If you use leafy greens, just rinse, chop, and toss them in. The pasta will wilt the greens enough.)
Let cool slightly. Slice each asparagus lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces. Add to the serving bowl.

When the pasta is cooked, reserve one cup of the pasta water, then drain. Quickly turn the pasta into the serving bowl. Add the juice of one lemon, and a splash of the reserved pasta water, then toss in:
1/2 cup yogurt (or creme fraiche, or even sour cream)

Fold the whole thing together until the cheese is melted and the flavors are evenly distributed. Add more lemon juice, if you like, more pasta water if the sauce is too sticky, and a good sprinkle of:
Freshly ground black pepper

The pasta is pictured above with a side of sauted baby squash. It's also great--in smaller doses--as accompaniment to baked chicken.


MeBeth said...

I'm trying to be more experimental with lemons, and this sounds like a great recipe. Right now I'm just practicing on a huge wedge of lemon stilton. Mmmm.

Bryce said...

Just found your blog! Always glad to find another DC food blogger. I am linking to your blog, Hope that is okay!

One Less Thing said...

Trying this tomorrow but I'm worried about the yogurt curdling. Should I add a bit of sour cream to prevent that or is it not necessary?

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