It doesn’t get much easier than this simple pasta dish. Only the pasta gets cooked and the sauce, made from just a few ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, comes together in less than five minutes. Serve with good crusty bread and a light white wine. It’s perfect as is, but also generous about sharing the serving dish with other ingredients you might choose to add.
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, more or less to taste
1 pound dried elbow macaroni (spaghetti also works well)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from those two lemons)
Put a big pot of salted water on the stove to boil.
Zest the 2 lemons.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, grated cheese, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente, usually about 7-8 minutes. Before draining, scoop out a cup of the pasta water.
Drain the pasta and add to the lemon sauce. Add the basil and lemon zest to the bowl and toss well.
Add the pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time to moisten. You might not need all of it. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.
The sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate, but bring it back to room temperature before using.
This dish is delicious as is, but I’ve also substituted kale or mint for the basil. For some more substance, you can add cooked peas and/or cooked diced chicken. It’s the perfect recipe to play with. Enjoy!