Pasta Week: Lemon Linguini

Pasta Week: Lemon Linguini

Esme’s at an inter­est­ing stage where she as engaged in make believe (“Mum, pre­tend you’re an Eater Witch who wants to steal the mermaid’s money but you don’t know it’s fake money and when you wake up you real­ize the real money is gone but you can’t find it. Okay?”) as in know­ing the clear perime­ters of the truth (“Mum, when I have chil­dren, will you be dead?”). We caught the last few moments of regalia that was William and Kate’s royal wed­ding on Sat­ur­day morning.

Esme kept check­ing with me, “She’s a real princess?” Me: “Yes. Now that she’s mar­ried Prince William, she is a princess.”
Esme:  “For real life?”
Me: “Yes, she’s an actual princess now.”
Esme: “Are they dead now?”
Me: “No, this is hap­pen­ing right now in Lon­don.”
Esme: “I’m a princess, too.”
Me: “Not, really, sweetie.”
Esme: “Yes, I AM a real princess.”
Me: “Okay.”
Esme:  “It’s beau­ti­ful.”
Me: “Yes, it actu­ally is.”

pho­tos: Maya Vis­nyei

Ready for the ten­u­ous segue? Hold on tight, here it comes.… When it comes to food, she’s equally dia­met­ric in her approach. Sauce, no! Salad, (sud­denly) yes! I’ve been think­ing of doing a lemon pasta for awhile but wasn’t sure it would fly with the lit­tles. Like every kid, they both love noo­dles. But sauce is some­times tricky. If Esme can catch me in time while I’m plat­ing she requests sauce on the side (where she can more eas­ily ignore it) but if she doesn’t and I go ahead and sauce her pasta, she’ll still eat it.

Tra­di­tion­ally, this is a pasta that is served very sim­ply. Just shred­ded basil and a lit­tle more Parme­san sprin­kled on top at the table. But I can see how it could become a nice base for other flavours. Chopped steamed aspara­gus would be deli­cious mixed in and even — sorry, if I’m offend­ing some fam­ily tra­di­tion but I’ve just got to say it — diced chicken. Peas wouldn’t feel out of place. I kept it sim­ple for our first spin with it and it was a big hit. Warm and really lemony — it’s like spring time in a bowl! And it’s fast, fast, fast to make. I’m def­i­nitely adding this to our ros­ter for lazy Wednes­day din­ners. Best of all it’s fit for both real girls and real princesses.

Lemon Lin­guini

1 500 gram pack­age of lin­guini or spaghetti
3  lemons juiced (1 zested)
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup Parme­san cheese, grated
hand­ful of basil, washed and sliced into strips (chif­fon­ade if you’re feel­ing fancy)
salt and pep­per to taste


Cook pasta accord­ing to pack­age instruc­tions. Scoop out about a cup or two of the water before draining.

While pasta is doing its thing: mix lemon juice, zest, oil, parme­san in a bowl. It will make a pretty gloppy sauce.

Place drained pasta back into pot. Pour that gloppy good­ness over the pasta and toss well until the cheese melts and each strand of pasta is well coated. You can add a bit of cook­ing water if you need to loosen up your sauce. Toss in the basil and toss again.

Use tongs to grab up a the noo­dles and twirl them onto the plate. The lat­est issue of Bon Appetit — with the amaz­ing ed Adam Rap­pa­port newly at the helm — is full of great tips for ele­vat­ing sim­ple pasta dishes, like the twirling one I’ve just poached. Or you can look online at their great video demos. Sprin­kle a lit­tle extra grated Parm over top at the table.

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