Arsip Tag: simplest

simplest spaghetti al limone – smitten kitchen

I am usually no fan of Microplane (specifically Microplane rasp-ed) parmesan. I find it fluffy and weightless. I prefer my parmesan with more bite, gravitas. But here, it’s the very best way to go, rendering parmesan so fine that merely a whisk will turn it into a sauce. Plus, you’ll already be using it for the lemon zest, right? If you don’t have one, use the tiniest holes on a box grater. You can also use the food processor method we do in the cacio e pepe, blending it to a as-smooth-as-possible paste in the machine before returning it to the bowl where the pasta will go.

If you can find an unsprayed/unwaxed lemon, it’s all the better here. If you can’t, give your lemon a light scrub (not removing zest, of course) and dry it thoroughly before zesting it here.

  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces or 225 grams) dried spaghetti
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn
Boil the spaghetti in well-salted water according to package directions. While it boils, finely grate (with a rasp-style grater; here’s the most common one but I prefer this size) the zest of half your lemon into the large bowl you’ll use to serve your dish. Add the juice of the whole lemon (about 4 tablespoons). Use the same rasp to grate the parmesan on top. Add olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon salt (and more to taste), and several grinds of black pepper and combine them with a whisk until very well mixed and as smooth as possible. When the pasta reaches the ideal texture, scoop out 1 cup of cooking water, set it aside, and drain the rest. Quickly turn piping hot spaghetti to lemon-parmesan mixture in bowl and use tongs or spoons to toss it until all of the strands are coated. Don’t worry if the mixture seems too thick or sticky — first get the strands as evenly coated as possible. Add reserved pasta water, a tiny splash (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) at a time, tossing the whole time, only until the spaghetti looks glossy and lightly sauced, but no so much that you “wash” the sauce off the pasta. You might only need a single splash to achieve this. Add basil leaves and toss to combine, then serve. If you finish each serving with a little extra olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan, you’ll be glad you did.
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simplest mushroom pasta – smitten kitchen

The recipe is shown here with 1 pound cremini mushrooms — the size bag I buy them in — but it’s actually really nice with 1.5 pounds too, if you’ve got it. Use any kind of mushrooms you like, or a mix, just slice them thin and season them well. I’m using a shape called fusilli pugliese here.
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried pasta, any shape you like
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced thin (see note)
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Glug of dry marsala or white wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche or mascarpone, or heavy cream
  • Handful chopped chives or parsley, to finish (optional)
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino
Bring a large pot of very well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta in it until 1 to 2 minutes shy of package suggestion. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water before you drain the pot.

Meanwhile, heat your largest sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in as close to an even layer as possible and don’t move them for about 3 minutes, until they’re browned underneath. Sprinkle with garlic and a good amount of salt and pepper (seasoning is everything here) and give them a stir. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft and tender and any liquid expelled has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Add the marsala and cook, stirring, until it disappears. Taste the mushroom mixture; you want it very well-seasoned at this point.

Add your drained pasta and half of the reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, until the pasta absorbs most of the liquid, adding more of the reserved pasta water if necessary to keep it a little saucy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche. [If using heavy cream, because it’s thinner, I’d cook it it onto the pasta for 30 to 60 seconds on the stove.] Adjust seasoning, if needed, and finish with chives and cheese. Eat right away.

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