Pasta Week: Lemon Linguini - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

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.



  1. yasmin says:

    see that serv­ing in the first pic­ture? that's your por­tion. the rest of the pot is mine. this looks SO good.

  2. tasteinspired says:

    I've seen this in a cook­book. Does this belong to Giada, Every­day Ital­ian?
    It is a very good dish.

  3. Ceri Marsh says:

    Lemon pasta, fre­quently made with spaghetti, is a clas­sic Ital­ian dish. It's the kind of thing you'll find in lots of tra­di­tional Ital­ian restau­rants and cookbooks.

    When I was work­ing on this post I looked at about 6 or 7 recipes — and I think you're right that Giada was one of them — before decid­ing on this com­bi­na­tion. Some use only zest to give a lemon flavour but I didn't like the idea the tex­ture that would cre­ate. Some use much less oil or much less lemon. You could def­i­nitely play around with pro­por­tions — but if I may say, this combo worked a charm! Let me know if you try it!

  4. […] easy and healthy recipes. I fig­ured if she can man­age, we can all man­age. Last night I made a lemon pasta recipe she posted and was not dis­ap­pointed – it was very refresh­ing with the cit­rus and fresh basil, per­fect to […]

  5. Melissa says:

    Beau­ti­ful! one of my favourite recipes from you so far.

  6. Ceri Marsh says:

    Thanks Melissa! I just made it again for a big crowd at the cot­tage and it was so good. I need to put it back in our reg­u­lar rotation!

  7. […] Lemon Lin­guini is a great fresh pasta dish, that is light enough to enjoy dur­ing the sum­mer months. […]

  8. Kristin says:

    Not that your Miss Minchin or any­thing (A Lit­tle Princess, 1995), but…

    Sara Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us. Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he?

    And by the way, I LOVE lemon pasta and will be mak­ing this recipe post haste! It is –35 where I live right now, and it is dark, so…I need the carbs…err…vitamin C :)

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