Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lemon Basil Pasta

Good food travels.

This recipe, in its original incarnation, apparently came from Gweneth Paltrow (in her cookbook? in a TV presentation?  no idea).

When my good friend Elizabeth was home over the summer, her sisters made this dish for her for her birthday.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a sort of potluck supper at another friend's house, and Elizabeth made this pasta.

I didn't actually write down the recipe, but I watched her make it and felt comfortable I could recreate it.  Because while this is positively delicious, it's also sinfully easy (and uses very few ingredients).

Indeed, I'm sure that the recipe has morphed some from Gweneth's original, like a culinary game of telephone, but this is what I made for dinner ... and not only did I gobble up more than I should have, but Mr. Wendy gave it an enthusiastic two thumbs up (after his initial skepticism of a pasta recipe that does not call for garlic.

This recipe is vegetarian.  When Elizabeth made this for the dinner party, she sauteed some shrimp in olive oil to serve on top of the past for the omnivores in the crowd.  I tend to think it would also be an excellent side for simple grilled chicken or maybe even roast pork.

Lemon Basil Pasta

Zest and juice of one large lemon
1 bunch of basil (4-5 stems), leaves coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. good quality olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
4 oz. grated parmesan cheese

14.5 oz. box of spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong boil.  While the water comes to a boil, grate and chop the zest of the lemon.  Place the zest in the bottom of a large serving bowl.  Add the juice of the lemon (about 1/4 of a cup, or a little less), the basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Measure the cheese, but keep it separate.

Cook the pasta to al dente.  Right before you drain it, spoon off a quarter cup of the cooking liquid and add it to the serving bowl.  After draining the pasta, add it to the serving dish and begin tossing to coat with the basil and lemon.  Add the cheese to the pasta in about four parts, tossing well between each.

And it's that easy . . .


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  2. That sounds like a bright and fresh dish. Thanks

  3. The lemon and basil bright, but not overpowering. I like to think of this as the grown-up alternative to buttered noodles. :)

  4. I love this -- simple and great! Full of flavor and that's what really counts. Hmm, maybe toss in a few black olives . . .

    ~ Krista

  5. Oh yes - a few brine cured olives or some capers would be great with this! Must try next time. :)