spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil and lemon

so you’d think with a simple recipe like this, i’d be able to whip this up seamlessly in no time.  it’s pasta, right?  easy!

well…things didn’t go quite as smoothly as i’d anticipated.  now, don’t get me wrong.  the finished product was good.  it was just getting there that was a pain.  literally, a pain.  i’ll explain after the recipe.

spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil and lemon (adapted from smitten kitchen)

1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
3 lemons
1/4 extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
salt, black pepper and italian seasoning to taste (i didn’t have basil or arugula, so i improvised with the seasoning)

cook spaghetti in salted water to your al dente tastes in a large pot.
while pasta is cooking, zest lemons until you have a little less than 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 the pasta water. 
dry out your pot, then boil the olive oil, cream, zest and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water together for 2 minutes over high heat. 
return pasta to pot and stir until coated. add the cheese and 1/4 cup lemon juice and toss everything together. add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. taste a strand of pasta and see if you want to add the remaining lemon juice. stir in italian seasoning, basil or arugula and season generously with salt and pepper.

i’m such a genius!  instead of just buying grated parmesan, i decided to buy a block of cheese to grate myself.  bad idea.  do you have any idea how hard and time-consuming it is to finely grate 1 cup’s worth of cheese?  by the end, my arm was throbbing with pain (did i mention i’ve diagnosed myself with carpal tunnel?) and i went to bed with a wrist brace on.  oh, the lengths i’ll go to for a pasta craving!  many lemon juice spills and other klutzy hijinks ensued. i won’t bore you with details, but it was quite a sight for an onlooker.

spaghetti…all dressed up

despite the heavy cream and cheese, this has a fresh and light flavor that i really like (thumbs up!).  it was a bit on the lemony side (i prefer it to have a stronger cheese taste) but that was because i didn’t follow directions and ended up pouring all of the lemon juice, as opposed to a little bit at a time (it just wasn’t my day, ha!). so next time i try this, i’ll have to take it easy with the juice.

and buy pre-grated cheese.

-jillian m.

18 responses to “spaghetti with extra virgin olive oil and lemon”

  1. Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} says:

    Oh YUM! This looks great. And love how the lemon mellows things out a bit. I'll be trying this.

    Also, feel your pain on the grater. Once I even grated my finger…that's right my finger when the cheese slipped! Hurt soo bad!

  2. Jen says:

    For someone who doesn't like tomatoes, this kind of spaghetti is right up my alley!! Yum!

    Happy Wednesday Darling! xo

  3. Felicia says:

    Yum! This looks so perfect. I need to put lemons, pre-grated parmesean cheese and heavy cream on my grocery list this weekend!

  4. Janey R. says:

    i'll definitely be trying this for dinner this weekend. :) seems like a nice fresh alternative to tomato based sauce. yum!

  5. Aquí says:

    This looks sooo yumy! I think I'll try it this week :)

  6. Caroline says:

    Simple and just how I like it!! YUM!

  7. jillian m. says:

    i totally encourage you ladies to try this. it's really easy (if you're not me). ha!

  8. says:

    oooo, adding lemon. that is good. but not sooo much lemon (winky). there is a recipe that's super simple and to taste. it's super traditional italian food: boil pasta, drain pasta but keep some of the pasta water, put pasta in a pan on low low heat, add fresh ground pepper and grated parm, mix, and pasta water and more ground pepper and grated parm, mix repeat. Adding lemon would be a nice addition I think.

  9. Cat says:

    Yum…I want this for dinner…tonight! :)

  10. la petite coquine says:

    This sounds absolutely delicious! Freshly grated is always a pain, but I do love the flavor!

  11. Alena says:

    Haha :) I hope your arm is feeling better. I always feel so out of shape when I have to grate cheese!

  12. ..R May A.. says:

    so hungry now :)
    looks gorgeous!! x

  13. Isabel says:

    i agree with you about liking pasta more cheesy than lemony. it looks great and i like the addition of arugula to the mix.

  14. Anna Jane says:

    ahhhh, don't torture me right before lunch. this is one of my fave meals, hands down. your pics are lovely!

  15. A "cheery" disposition says:

    I am not a read sauce fan, so this spaghetti looks right up my ally.

  16. The Many Colours of Happiness says:

    This sounds so yummy, I love anything with lesson!

  17. Linda [the young curator] says:

    oh you poor thing!

    well, the pasta looks beautiful if it's any consolation :]

    i'll be sure to take your advice and buy pre-grated cheese the next time i'm making pasta ;]

  18. {lovely little things} says:

    This is Giada's recipe right? This is MY FAVE!!

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