This sunny pasta dish will transport you virtually to Italy’s Amalfi coast, where fragrant lemons grow. The no-cook, raw sauce is made from a few basic ingredients—fruity extra virgin olive oil, zesty lemon, and fragrant fresh herbs from your home garden—and is ready in the time it takes to boil the spaghetti. Light, fresh, and satisfying, my quick and simple lemon spaghetti will definitely brighten your day! Use sweet and juicy Meyer lemons for best-tasting results.
8 basil leaves (or a mix of basil and mint) cut into fine julienne strips, plus more basil to garnish
½ cup/50g freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. While the water comes to a boil, make the raw pasta sauce.
Using a microplane or grater, zest the yellow peel of both lemons (avoiding the underlying white pith which is bitter) into a non-reactive glass or ceramic bowl large enough to eventually hold all the cooked pasta. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Season with 1-teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the olive oil into the bowl in a thin stream while whisking into a light emulsion. Add the parsley, basil, grated cheese and stir until the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside while you cook the spaghetti.
Generously season the boiling water with a handful of kosher or sea salt. When the water returns to a vigorous boil, add the spaghetti and stir for about a minute to separate the pasta strands and prevent sticking. Cook the spaghetti until “al dente”, tender yet firm to the bite (usually 2 minutes less than package directions).
Using tongs, lift the spaghetti out of the pot with water clinging and place in the bowl with the sauce. Toss the spaghetti in the sauce until the strands are well coated and the cheese has melted, add a little pasta cooking water if needed to keep spaghetti loose and juicy.
Transfer lemon spaghetti to a warm serving platter or individual plates and garnish a sprig of basil. I use fresh herbs grown in my Simple Garden by Miravel