Unwinding with Tagliolini al Limone
We all need time to unwind and relax, to get away from the usual routine and leave the “to do” list at home. A weekend by the sea is my preferred technique at the moment, while the Spring weather is still not too hot yet not too cool, sometimes stormy, but mostly gloriously sunny. We are blessed to have a place where we can always stay in a little beach side village on the Etruscan coast, one of my absolute most favourite parts of Tuscany.
The beauty of this area is indescribable. You will have to come and see it for yourselves. Ancient, undulating hills carrying the ruins of Etruscan tombs, medieval fortresses, streets made of cypress trees or leaning umbrella pines and a rocky coastline of sea that changes colours depending on its mood.
Part of our unwinding ritual is the walk to our favourite coffee shop in the morning for a coffee and the local paper. Already at breakfast we are talking about what to do for lunch. Not just because food is the main way we like to spoil ourselves (well, ok, mostly for this reason), but also because the walk home involves passing through the local market. It doesn’t take long to decide what we’re going to make. We’re away for the weekend with the purpose of absolutely relaxing – what a better choice than my favourite comfort food of the moment? Tagliolini al limone, beautiful silky thin noodles of pasta with a squeeze of lemon and its zest, some chili and Parmesan cheese.
Simple and fresh, I love this combination of lemon zest and chili for its reviving effect. The chili gives some nice heat but isn’t too spicy. A dash of cream binds the whole thing together beautifully, but Marco loves putting in some creamy goat cheese instead of the cream, which goes down very well too. Fresh tagliolini (as opposed to dry pasta) are a must. They only take a few minutes to cook and are delicate, silky and tasty in this ultra simple dish.
Tagliolini al limone
For 2 people
- 250 grams of fresh tagliolini or linguine pasta (if you have to use dry pasta, then use 90 grams per person)
- The zest and juice of 1 large organic, untreated lemon
- About 50 grams of butter
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 50 grams of caprino (creamy goat cheese) or a dash of cream
- 2 small dried chillis
- Generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add salt and the pasta. If it’s fresh pasta, it should only take a few minutes to cook and that’s all you will need to make the sauce.
In the meantime, place the butter and olive oil over a medium heat. When the butter begins to melt, add the zest of the lemon (make sure it’s just the zest without any of the white pith) and let cook for about a minute. It’s important not to let the lemon burn: you can add about half a cup of the water that the pasta is cooking in or even half a glass of white wine at this point, along with the lemon juice. Let simmer for two minutes. Add the goat cheese (or cream if using) and a tablespoon of the pasta water and let melt. Taste and season as needed with chilli, salt and white pepper.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy with a sea view, if possible, or at least while unwinding!