I've modified the original portions, because I found the Cook's Illustrated one a bit oily for my liking. I've used unsalted butter and little more cream in the recipe and been pleased with the results. Because it is winter here and there is no decent affordable fresh basil, I've omitted it so far. I plan to add it in the summer when I've got Italian basil growing in my herb garden.
Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil (Al limone)
Note: Let the dish rest briefly before serving so the flavors develop and the sauce thickens.
1 lb spaghetti
1 TSBP extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 TBSP)
1/3 cup heavy cream (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup)
3 TBSP unsalted butter (the original recipe used extra virgin olive oil and no butter)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup juice from 3 lemons
1 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
Ground black pepper
2 TBSP shredded basil leaves
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 TBSP salt and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1 3/4 cups cooking water, drain pasta into colander, and set aside.
- Heat 1 TBSP oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 tsp salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water and cream into pot; bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat, return pasta, and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 3 TBSP butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Cover and let stand 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water, if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil and sprinkling with cheese.