prep time: 10 min | cook time: 15 min
Thank you for checking out my first ever recipe post: SPICY LEMON PASTA! I love lemon pasta in general and I can’t resist adding jalapeno to anything when possible. This is one of my favorite weeknight dishes to cook when I want to throw something together quickly. I make it quite often and somehow never fail to rub my eyes too soon after cutting the jalapenos.
makes about 2 servings
- 6 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- 1 jalapeno (I use 2, but I’m a savage)
- 2 cloves garlic
- Crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Gather a pot for boiling pasta and a pan for cooking. Have a heat-safe cup set aside for reserving pasta water (I like using a glass liquid measuring cup with a handle).
- Halve and deseed the jalapenos. Dice them or slice into thin strips.
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Wedge lemon into quarters to prepare for juicing. De-seed each quarter by slicing off the edge along the pith (white spongy part of the lemon); once you slide off the edge of the wedges, the seeds will come out pretty easily. Set the quarters aside.
- Measure out the pasta with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, estimate the portions you need that will inevitably end up being 80 times more pasta than anticipated.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for one minute less than the package directs to cook al dente – it will continue to cook in the pan later. Stir occasionally. Whenever the pasta is done, reserve some pasta water before draining. I never measure exact amounts but just reserve a cupful to the side.
- Heat a skillet with olive oil over medium-low heat. Test the skillet to see if it’s hot enough by flicking some water on it. If the water sizzles on contact, it’s ready to cook with. Add the jalapenos to the skillet and saute until they are slightly browned. Add in the garlic and sprinkle in some crushed red pepper and toss. Set heat to low and let cook about 5 minutes or so until your pasta is done. It’s important that the garlic cooks low so that it doesn’t burn and get bitter.
- Add butter to the skillet, stirring over low heat. Squeeze juice from three of the wedges into the melted butter and stir. Once it is melted on the pan and slightly frothy.
- Add pasta to the skillet and toss with tongs.
- You’ll notice the butter makes the pasta look nice ‘n greasy, but it’s not silky and smooth yet. This is where we start adding pasta water – slowly add reserved pasta water bit by bit while stirring until it gets to a consistency you like. It doesn’t take much – it should loosen up the pasta but not so much that the pasta is drowning in liquid.
- Squeeze the last lemon wedge over the pasta and toss again until everything is well incorporated.
- Grate parmesan cheese over the pasta in the skillet (or sprinkle some on if you have pre-grated parm) and stir everything together.
- Salt to taste. If the dish still tastes like it’s missing that boost of flavor, it needs more salt. Adjust any of the ingredients until you get a good balance of lemon, salt, and butter. Add more pasta water if you need it to be a bit more silky.
- Transfer pasta to plate. Grate parmesan over top. Now EAT.
wine pairing | A nice white. Or possibly a red. Rosé is also a good choice.
Note: You can really put your own spin on this pasta any way you like. If you don’t want it spicy, don’t add jalapenos. Sometimes I saute some broccoli and add it to the pasta or I will pan fry a side of crispy chicken thigh. I will also often toast up some bread with cheese to eat on the side, because carbs.