It has been a little while since I made this dish, but I feel like it is right in line with the spring flavors right now. For me, this was actually a recipe that came about to use several things that I hanging around the kitchen. While I was home over my Christmas break, I had some family friends gift us several bags of local (ie. grown in their backyard) lemons, tangelos, and grapefruit. We devoured the other fruit plain, but I really wanted to find a couple recipes to showcase the fresh lemons. One of the recipes that I settled on was these muffins. This is the other.
This recipe turned out really well and held up really well to a couple of substitutions that I made to use up a couple of things in my kitchen. This doesn’t really surprise me since it is a CI recipe. The ingredient list and cooking process is actually really simple. You cook the pasta, bring the sauce together in a separate pan, and mix the two together. Quick. Easy. Delicious. My changes were that I added some shredded Rotisserie chicken to our dish since I had some around and used feta cheese rather than Parmesan because that’s what we had in the kitchen. Even with my changes, it made for a great meal and definitely showcased my lemons! I would like to try it out again using the actual Parmesan to see how that affects the flavor. Enjoy!
Spaghetti al Limone
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Jan/Feb 2011
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1-3/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 lb. cooked, shredded chicken
1 ounce (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmesan cheese (I used feta)
ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. shredded fresh basil leaves
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1-3/4 cups cooking water, drain pasta into colander, and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in now-empty Dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1-1/2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water and cream into pot; bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat, add pasta and chicken and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Cover and let pasta stand 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil (if desired), and sprinkling with more cheese (if desired).