Popular in southern Italy, this dish is bright, buttery, and simply irresistible. Being so attached to lemons and acidic ingredients in my cooking, this is not just a favorite, this lemony pasta verge an obsession.
Even if you go for the plant-based option or the classic, vegetarian option - or why not, a hybrid between these two (I very often use oat cream but add Parmigiano Reggiano at the end)- I'm positive you'll absolutely love this.
Not a fan of lemony things? Use less lemon juice (1 tbsp). The dish will still borrow the brightness from the zest and the juice will cut into the fatty cream and oh so delicious butter and cream sauce.
Prepare your mise en place and have all ingredients ready. It's very simple to make.
Also, a few tips I can give you:
acid & salt balance - taste the sauce before and after adding the pasta. Lemony sauces require more salt in order to balance nicely. Taste and adjust.
consistency- don't worry if the sauce looks too liquid, cooking cream-based sauces usually thicken while cooling. I personally like to take the skillet off the heat and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes. I will mix again 2 times before serving - the sauce will have just the right consistency when serving. If the sauce looks too thick, add the pasta water.
pasta - the Mafalde type is not required. Use any long style noodle you like - spaghetti, bucatini, capellini, linguine.
Pasta al Limone * plant-based version
Plant-based, Soy-free, Vegetarian option included
Makes 2 portions
Total time: 30 minutes
170 g Mafalde pasta
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cooking oat cream or any neutral tasting cooking cream like soy (for the vegetarian option, use normal dairy cooking cream)
3 tbsp vegan butter (for the vegetarian option, use dairy butter, 85% fat)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (for the vegetarian option, use 2-3 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano)
Cook Mafalde pasta in a large pot of boiling & salted water until al dente.
Grate the zest from half a lemon and then squeeze the juice. Put them aside in separate bowls.
To make the sauce, heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet.
Add the lemon zest and cook on low to medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, cooking cream, a pinch of salt, and half tsp of black pepper. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced. Add the remaining butter and stir. If the pasta is not ready yet, put the skillet aside.
Scoop out around 1 cup (250 ml) of pasta water and set aside.
When pasta is al dente, take off the heat and strain.
Using tongs, place the pasta into the lemon cream sauce and add 5-7 tbsp of the pasta water. Cook and mix on medium heat for an additional 3 minutes. Toss in the nutritional yeast/ Parmigiano Reggiano and the remaining black pepper and mix.
Don't worry if the sauce looks too liquid, cooking cream-based sauces usually thicken while cooling. . I personally like to take the skillet off the heat and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes. I will mix again 2 times before serving - the sauce will have just the right consistency when serving. If the sauce looks too thick, add the pasta water.
Divide in 2 and plate the pasta. You can also garnish with extra freshly ground, black pepper, lemon zest, or nutritional yeast/Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy!