Spaghetti With Lemon

Tonight's dinner is good weeknight meal: cheap, filling, tasty. The process is simple. Cook pasta in salted water as per directions. Just as it's al dente, reserve a cup or so of the cooking water. (This is the key step: it allows you to make the sauce with much less cream than the classic recipe.) Return the pot to medium heat (use another burner if you have an electric stove), sautee a shopped shallot (and, if you like, some fresh or frozen peas) in a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the reserved pasta water an a splash of cream or half and half (no more than 1/3 of a cup). Cook for 1-2 minutes, remove from heat, and stir in the zest and juice of 2-3 lemons, basil, and if you like a drizzle of olive oil, and stir to coat well. Serve with a little Parmesan or Romano, and a green salad with a vinaigrette. (All these portions assume a pound of pasta; if you're just a couple and don't want leftovers, reduce the portions accordingly.)

We accompanied the meal with a bottle of Elisabetta Geppetti Morellino di Scansano, a lovely Sangiovese blend available for less than 15 bucks at the invaluable All-Star.

Not bad for a weeknight! And plenty of leftovers too.


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