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The Hungry Nomad: Spaghetti Al Limone (Amalfi Coast, Italy)

March 4, 2011

Spaghetti Al Limone (Amalfi Coast, Italy)

On a distant trip to Naples and the surrounding Amalfi coastline of Sorrento and Positano, I once had a very simple dish which was so delicious that I can still taste it: Spaghetti Al Limone.  For those of you who have Italy on your list of destinations. I highly recommend visiting the Amalfi coast. It is really breathtaking and  hopelessly romantic. The Amalfi coast line is famous for its lemon and so it comes as no surprise that many dishes, drinks and deserts use lemon as one of their key ingredients. I have been searching for a good Spaghetti Al Limone recipe for quite some time. Most recently I discovered one on my top ten list of blogs. This recipe is taken directly from Smitten Kitchen's wonderful blog. Let me know how it turns out. 

Smitten Kitchen's Recipe: 

Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil [Spaghetti al Limone]
This is one of those recipes that are almost better off without one — every ingredient can be adjusted to taste and the technique is just tossing everything about.


1 pound spaghetti or linguine
3 lemons

2 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus additional for serving
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus additional for serving
Ground black pepper
Small handful fresh basil or arugula (what I used, deliciously, in a pinch) leaves, shredded


Cook linguine or spaghetti in well-salted water to your al dente tastes in a large, wide-bottomed pot. (You’ll have fewer dishes to wash if you use this pot to assemble the dish as well.)

While pasta is cooking, zest lemons until you have a little shy of a tablespoon of zest. Juice lemons — you’ll have anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice.
Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water. Dry out your pot, then boil the olive oil, cream, zest and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water together for two minutes over high heat. Return pasta to pot and stir until coated. Add the cheese and 1/4 cup lemon juice and toss, toss, toss everything together. Add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, if you’d like your dish a little looser. Quickly taste a strand of pasta and see if you want to add the remaining lemon juice (we did). Stir in basil or arugula and season generously with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, drizzling individual portions with a bit of extra olive oil and sprinkling with extra Parmesan cheese

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