Spaghetti al limone has always been one of my favorite pastas…
I love its exuberance and simplicity. But I can never resist putting my own spin on the classics… C’est plus fort que moi (I can’t help it)!
So here’s my take: First, I started with the pasta itself, and made fresh pasta with chickpea flour. The pasta turned out a bit nutty, with a delicate chickpea flavor (truly superb!), but the dough ended up quite fragile, so I cut it into fettuccine instead of spaghetti. Then I julienned lemon zest (lots of it!) and tossed it on its own with the hot pasta. The warmth of the pasta softened the zest, allowing it to permeate every strand with its delicious essence. Then I tossed the pasta with fresh lemon juice, olive oil and Parmesan… no cream, no butter… and that made the sauce extra vibrant. As a last touch, I garnished the whole thing with honey-roasted cherry tomatoes. The sweetness of the tomatoes ended up being a perfect contrast to the lemony sauce.
Make your own fresh pasta with chickpea flour – you won’t regret it!
I hope this sounds enticing enough for you to try your hand at making chickpea pasta dough for this recipe. But if time is not on your side, the sauce is equally delicious with store-bought pasta. Plus it’s one of the easiest and most delectable sauces you’ll ever make.
Food & wine pairing: Campania, Fiano with fresh chickpea fettucine
When I think of lemons and chickpeas, I think Southern Italy. And one of the most delightful white wines of Southern Italy is Fiano – especially the ones from Fiano di Avellino DOCG, in Campania. This ancient grape turns out wines that are full-bodied, with honey and hazelnut notes that go perfectly with the slightly nutty chickpea pasta and the sweetness of the tomatoes. But these wines are also bone-dry, with a juicy acidity and mellow lemony flavors that pair perfectly with the lemon sauce. My second choice would be an Albariño from Galicia in Northwestern Spain. Although these wines are lighter and more citrusy, they’re a good match here too.
Fresh chickpea fettuccine with lemon sauce and honey-roasted cherry tomatoes
active time: 1 hr 15 min with homemade pasta (30 min with store-bought)
- 1 1/2 large lemons
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper (lots of it!)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water
- 1 recipe fresh pasta dough with chickpea flour – cut with the fettuccine attachment (see Viviane’s tip)
- 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan
- 1/2 recipe honey-roasted grape or cherry tomatoes
- Step 1: Peel the lemons in strips with a vegetable hand-peeler, removing as little of the bitter white pith as possible. Then cut each strip lengthwise into julienne slices. You should have about 1/3 cup of medium-packed julienned lemon zest.
- Step 2: Place the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
- Step 3: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and pasta. Boil pasta until al dente (for fresh pasta it’ll only take 1 to 2 minutes) and drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and reserved pasta water, toss well and let stand for 1 minute. (This will soften the lemon zest and help it release its flavor into the pasta.) Drizzle the pasta with the lemon/olive oil mixture and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Toss well again. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the honey-roasted tomatoes and serve immediately.
- Although this recipe is truly outstanding when made with homemade chickpea pasta, it is also delicious with store-bought fettuccine (use 1 lb or 455 g). The lemon sauce and honey-roasted tomatoes are so quick and easy to make, you’ll end up with a superb meal in less than 30 minutes.