When life gives you lemons… Make lemon pasta. Ha! Bet you didn’t see that one coming! I literally had too many lemons in the fridge, and after some chastising from my Mum about my penchant for stocking up on more baking ingredients than I need, I decided to step away from the KitchenAide to find another way to use them.
I hope you didn’t think that “Cooking” tab up there was just a prop! I’ve been trying to cook these past few months but it’s been difficult to schedule it. You see, my Mother plans our meals everyday before she goes to work, assigning what our house cook has to prepare for the day. This is why I need to ask permission from her or schedule it into the menu when I want to cook something, as opposed to baking because my Mum pretty much lets me make whatever I want. At some point during her youth, she fell in love with baking as well.
In fact my first stand mixer was her old green Oster, which sadly does not have the same interchangeable hooks, whisks and paddles as a KitchenAide has. I do have some sentimental attachment to that old mixer, but our new one just makes life so much easier. I’m getting misty-eyed just reminiscing about it.
But that’s beside the point of this post. Read on for the recipe of this simple but yummy Baked Lemon Pasta.
I first had the idea of looking for a lemon-based pasta recipe due to the request of one of my brothers, Jason. We had bought a pack of wholemeal spaghetti from the Supermarket and so I did my standard operating procedure when trying to search for inspiration: I turned to my favourite food blogs. It’s that growing list of links there on the right. It didn’t come as a huge surprise for me that I would find a lemon pasta recipe from Ree Drummond’s site. She is the Pioneer Woman after all!
This recipe is very easy to make, and is a refreshing change from the usual pasta we serve here at home. My family is used to eating those with very flavorful sauces, topped with all the delicious ingredients- not that it’s a bad thing. I love cooking and eating those too, but thought this one could be an interesting change.
This pasta dish has a very delicate and simple flavor, with the lemon giving that extra kick. The sour cream and Parmesan cheese both add a slightly savory aftertaste too. My Mum was asking me to add some bacon in this next time because she prefers more flavor, but with a squeeze of some lemon juice before serving, my brothers and I like it the way it is: very clean and subtle in flavor, but very addictive.
The spaghetti we used might have played a part in the addictiveness, now that I think about it. Wholemeal pasta has a nice texture that makes you want to keep chewing it, but if you don’t have wholemeal pasta on hand, good old regular spaghetti works fine. You don’t actually need a lot of ingredients to make this pasta, and the effort is rather minimal because the oven does the rest of the work.
- 455 grams (1 pound) thin spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 cups sour cream
- ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese
- parsley, chopped
- extra lemons
- 1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Cook spaghetti in water with a bit of salt and olive oil until al dente, then quickly run it through cold water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- 2. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic and let sit for a minute or two. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan and mix. Turn off the heat.
- 3. Add sour cream and stir mixture together until combined. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.*
- 4. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.
- 5. Cover and bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.
- 6. When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Before serving, give it a final squeeze of lemon juice for good measure.
- To serve: The pasta can be served with some nice and toasty French bread, and a simple green salad. Or you could just go ahead and eat it on its own.
- * I noticed that the sour cream's flavor lightened a bit after taking the pasta out of the oven, but this way it'll keep a nice balance with the lemon when you squeeze the juice on top of the pasta to serve. Also, since the sour cream doesn't have a lot of salt content, you may want to add a little more than half a teaspoon.