Last week I threw two whole oranges into a cake. And now today I’m putting whole lemons (peel, pith, flesh AND juice!) into pasta. Things are getting crazy around these part.
OK. I hope at least one of you guys got a little chuckle from my lame attempt at humor.
Let’s talk about Meyer lemons. They are my favorite citrus fruit and I look forward to them all year long. A cross between a lemon and an orange, Meyer lemons are smaller and sweeter than regular lemons. And they have a thinner skin and very little pith. Oh and the scent is highly intoxicating. I could breath it in all day long. If you haven’t tried Meyer lemons yet, I highly recommend seeking them out. And then make yourself this fettuccine!
This Meyer Lemon and Pine Nut Fettuccine is sort of like Fettuccine Alfredo. It’s rich and creamy and wonderfully comforting on a cold winters day. But it’s not quite so decadent. Now I wouldn’t go and label this diet food, but it’s certainly a little bit lighter than the more traditional version. That’s because I’ve skimped out on some of the heavy cream and cheese in favor of pine nuts to help create the sauce. And the lemon and thyme give it a freshness that regular Fettuccine Alfredo certainly doesn’t have.
Meyer Lemon and Pine Nut Fettuccine
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 small shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 Meyer lemons
- 10 ounces fettuccine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
- In a small dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts until they are just starting to become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove the pine nuts from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Add the cooled pine nuts and the shallot to the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment. Process until the mixture is finely ground and almost paste-like. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the zest of one Meyer lemon.
- Wash and trim the ends off the second Meyer lemon. Cut it into chunks and remove and discard the seeds. Add the lemon chunks to your food processor (no need to clean it out from above), and process until the lemon is finely chopped, but not puréed. Transfer the processed lemon to the bowl with the pine nut-shallot mixture and stir to combine.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fettuccine according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the fettuccine and set it aside, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Place the pot back on your stove over medium heat. Add the heavy cream and bring it to a light simmer. Add the processed lemon mixture, the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, thyme and about 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Whisk until the everything is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat. Add back the fettuccine, tossing it gently to combine it with the sauce. Add more pasta water as needed to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.
- Transfer to serving bowls and enjoy immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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