My mother-in-law loves lemons.
If I’m trying to get in good with her, all I have to do is whip up a dish that includes a burst of lemon and I’m in the running for Favorite Daughter-in-Law.
I understand why she loves them so much--they're bright, fresh, and add a pop to anything their juice touches.
Obviously lemon juice is an easy way to get lemon flavor into something, but you can also eat the whole lemon!
By blanching the lemon slices, then caramelizing them up, this pasta takes lemons to a whole new level.
The lemon slices are a touch sweet, a touch bitter, a touch smoky, and a touch acidic.
Mixed in with some balsamic and a bit of cream, and finished with dollops of ricotta--you’ve got a dish that is refined, intriguing--and just plain yummy.
Caramelized Lemon Pasta
- 2 lemons + juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ pound linguine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, more for a garnish
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- Fill two large pots with water, and bring them to a boil. While the water is heating, cut each lemon lengthwise into quarters; chop the quarters into ⅛- to ¼-inch-thick triangle slices. In one of the pots of now-boiling water, cook the linguine according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
- Blanch the lemon slices by adding them to the other pot of boiling water and cooking them for about 2 minutes. Remove them, pat them dry, and set them aside.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat, then add the lemons. Cook the lemons, stirring occasionally, until they are brown all over—about 5 minutes. Remove them and set them aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, and place the onion and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the sauté pan. Cook the onion until it is tender—about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemons back to the pan along with the balsamic vinegar, cooking them for 1 minute. Next add ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, the cream, sugar, and salt, and cook this mixture for 2 minutes. Then add the pasta, parsley, lemon juice, and more pasta water if needed; toss everything together until the pasta is well coated. Serve it topped with dollops of ricotta cheese and extra parsley for a garnish.