There is honestly nothing better than using Lemon as the main ingredient to cook or bake with. I mean, lemons are probably the most versatile fruit you can use for making anything from souffles, custards, cakes, puddings, fillings, pretty much most any dessert you can think of. Lemons are also equally delicious in savory dishes such as cream sauces, vinaigrettes, marinades, and just so many more. I’m obsessed with lemon everything. Obsessed.
In this particular recipe, lemon is key when it’s combined with a few other simple ingredients to create the perfect sauce for your pasta. What’s even better, is that the flavors are super kid friendly and everyone in your family will love it. Win win in my book. Lemon, Parmesan and Basil are a threesome made in food heaven and the recipe is so easy to make. Forget 30 minute meals, this one takes more like 15 minutes to make, top!
You’ll need pound of spaghetti, 1 large lemon, 1 ½ cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus more for serving), 2 ½ Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a handful of fresh basil leaves that are julienned or cut into thin slices.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add a pinch of kosher salt to the boiling water. Boil the spaghetti according to the package directions. Meanwhile, using a microplane, grate the zest from the lemon into a large serving bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of the lemon into the same bowl (about 3 T of juice). Add the 1 ½ cups of the freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 freshly ground pepper and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Mix in the 2 1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil to form a sort of wet paste.
When the spaghetti is perfectly cooked, using a ladle scoop out about 2-3 Tablespoons of the pasta water and add it to the lemon mixture. This will loosen the mixture and create more of a sauce. Additionally, it will help coat each strand of the pasta. Using a strainer or a handheld colander, remove the spaghetti from the water and add it to the bowl with the lemon and cheese mixture and mix thoroughly, adding another 1-2 Tablespoons of pasta water if needed. The mixture will have the tendency to clump together, so by adding a bit more pasta water it will help separate the clumps. Add a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then add the sliced basil leaves and more grated parmesan cheese.
Seriously this dish is one of mine and my families most favorite pasta dishes. Simple, yet so incredibly good! Make this one tonight!