I always prepared heartier meals during the colder months, including soups, stews, and polenta. We also tended to eat more meat-based dishes that I roast or braise. I also like to include lots of winter vegetables in our meals, and we eat a lot of berries, apples, and pears.
Now that we are permanently living in Florida, we do not have a winter, so we tend to eat lighter, and our weekly menu includes more pasta dishes and seafood than heavy meat dishes. Some great citrus fruit options appear every January in our local markets, including Meyer lemons and blood oranges. I like to cook with lemons during the winter as the bright flavor that lemons add makes any meal delicious.
While I was shopping last week, I found Meyer lemons in a local store and had to buy some. Meyer lemons are a hybrid citrus fruit native to China. It is a cross between a citron and a mandarin/pomelo. Meyer lemons taste lemony and have acidity but are significantly less tart than regular lemons. They are sweet enough that they can even be added raw to various dishes, although you probably still wouldn’t want to eat one whole raw like you would an orange.
Lemon pasta has been a favorite of mine ever since I tasted it in Amalfi, where the lemons grow to the size of small melons. Lemons add a brightness to any dish, and pairing lemons with a creamy cheese sauce may sound odd, but I promise you it is irresistible. I’ve made this dish twice so far in the past couple of weeks while I tried to find the best combination of ingredients, and I think this version is my favorite.
I would use fettuccine, either fresh or dried, as I have, or spaghetti or linguini. You could include some lightly toasted pine nuts on top of the pasta when serving, which would add some texture, and although I added fresh thyme, fresh chopped rosemary could be used in its place. I have added sliced lemon supremes in my dish. Although I found them an excellent addition, they really aren’t necessary. Of course, regular lemons would be just fine in this dish, but I wanted to use my Meyer lemons instead.
Deborah Mele 2020
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 1 Pound Pasta of Choice (See Notes Above)
- Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Lemon Supremes (Optional)
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- While the water is heating, heat the oil and lemon zest in a skillet, then add the salt, honey, and garlic.
- Whisk in the heavy cream.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is very"al dente".
- Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water.
- Add the lemon juice and fresh thyme to the drained pasta and toss.
- Add the pasta to the skillet along with the 1/2 cup pf cheese, and 1/4 cup cooking water and toss until coated and mixed well.
- Add additional pasta water if sauce seems too thick.
- Serve pasta in individual bowls topped with the black pepper, grated cheese, and fruit slices if using, and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 734Total Fat: 58gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 458mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g