Pasta Grannies' spaghetti with lemon pesto recipe

Pasta Grannies' spaghetti with lemon pesto recipe

One of the pasta-loving Italian grandmothers featured in Vicky Bennison's new cookbook Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking, skilled home cook Adriana, from Procida, has been making this recipe ever since she was a child. It's brilliant for unexpected guests, or when you want to cook something really quick that tastes like a long weekend in Italy.

Note: These days, one can buy Amalfi lemons (which are very similar to the Procida ones listed in the recipe below) quite easily, but if you are using regular lemons, you may want to experiment with the acidity by reducing the amount of juice and adding a little more water. Meyer lemons can also be substituted. 

Ingredients

  • 100 g boxed spaghetti per person
  • 3 large organic lemons, ideally from Procida
  • 50 ml lemon juice (from about 2 lemons) 
  • 10 g flat-leaf parsley (or basil) 
  • 5 g mint 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 50 g Italian pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 100 g Parmigiano Reggiano (or pecorino), grated
  • 3.5 oz boxed spaghetti per person
  • 3 large organic lemons, ideally from Procida
  • 1.8 fl oz lemon juice (from about 2 lemons) 
  • 0.4 oz flat-leaf parsley (or basil) 
  • 0.2 oz mint 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1.8 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.8 oz Italian pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano (or pecorino), grated
  • 3.5 oz boxed spaghetti per person
  • 3 large organic lemons, ideally from Procida
  • 0.2 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons) 
  • 0.4 oz flat-leaf parsley (or basil) 
  • 0.2 oz mint 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 0.2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.8 oz Italian pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 3.5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano (or pecorino), grated

Details

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Recipe Type: Pasta
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 30 mins
  • Cooking Time: 15 mins
  • Serves: 4

Step-by-step

  1. Start by peeling the lemons; you only want the skin. A great way to remove the pith from the peel is to use a filleting knife, which has a flexible blade. Anchor the peel pith side up with a finger, then with the other hand press and slither the knife horizontally under the pith (away from your fingers, please), leaving the zesty skin. Chop the rinds finely. Strain the lemon juice to remove pips.
  2. Rough chop the parsley, mint and garlic and blitz all these together in a food processor with a pinch of salt, the chilli flakes and the oil until smooth.
  3. Roughly chop the nuts, add them to the mix and blitz again until you have a rough pesto paste.
  4. Add half the cheese and give it a quick zhuzh. Taste for acidity and, if needed, add tablespoons of water to adjust.
  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for the time indicated on the packet. In the meantime take a large salad bowl and dollop in the pesto. Dilute with a ladle of hot pasta water to make it more of a sauce.
  6. Drain your pasta, keeping some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pesto, adding in the rest of the cheese and adding more hot pasta water if necessary so the sauce coats the spaghetti. Serve immediately. This should be on your regular recipe roster! 

Recipe extracted from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison, published by Hardie Grant, £22. Photography by Lizzie Mayson.

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