what is life without pasta?
Life would be uninteresting without a weekly serving of pasta. Between the shapes, fillings and sauces, there are limitless possibilities for a bowl of pasta. I have approximately 40 pasta recipes under this category on my website. This doesn’t include the one pot or one pan recipes for gnocchi.
Last week in The New York Times, food writer and cook book author, Melissa Clark, had a recipe for Buttery Lemon Pasta with Almonds and Arugula. My husband adores pasta in any shape or sauce for that matter. For this week’s pasta meal, I was intrigued by Melissa’s recipe. The combination of arugula, sliced almonds in a simple sauce made with pasta water infused with lemon juice and zest sounded enticing.
For the recipe you’ll need fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, linguine or spaghetti, unsalted butter, sliced almonds, fresh rosemary sprigs, red-pepper flakes, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, baby or wild arugula.
There are times when I adapted ingredients based on what I have on hand or if it’s worth the investment. For this recipe I used kosher salt, a combination of salted and unsalted butter and baby arugula, not chopped as called for (leaves were small enough).
The pasta for the recipe is cooked just shy of al dente which is approximately one to two minutes shorter than the package indicates. Here are a few tips I picked up from comments left by other cooks:
What a fast and scrumptious recipe! The pasta was light tasting with a refreshing sauce. You had the bite from the bitter arugula, hint of lemon tang from both the juice and zest and a bit of heat from the red-pepper flakes. So enjoyable; we had seconds.
Buttery Lemon Pasta with Almonds and Arugula
“Pull From Your Pantry for This Easy Lemon Butter Pasta,”
By Melissa Clark, The New York Times|”A Good Appetite” column
January 5, 2023
Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sliced almonds
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon. juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
4 to 5 ounces baby or wild arugula, coarsely chopped or use baby kale or spinach (4 to 5 cups)
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Bring a late pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is 1 minute shy of being al dente, usually a minute or 2 less than the package instructions. Scoop our about 1-1/2 cups pasta water, then drain pasta.
While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides, the milk solids turn golden-brown and the butter smells nutty and toasty, 3 to 4 minutes. (Watch carefully to see that it doesn’t burn.)
Stir in almonds, rosemary and red-pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are toasted and slightly darker in color, about 1 minute
Add about 1 cup pasta water to the skillet and bring to simmer. Add lemon juice, zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a large pinch of black pepper, then add drained pasta and toss well. Add arugula, tossing until it wilts. Simmer for another minute, if needed, to thicken the sauce until it’s thick and glossy. If the mixture seems dry, add more pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Taste and add more salt, red-pepper flakes and lemon juice, if needed. Served topped with grated Parmesan and more red-pepper flakes, if you like.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.