Amalfi Coast Lemon Pesto Pasta

Travel around the world without leaving your kitchen.


Four lemons

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons white sugar, divided

1 pound noodles

½ cup slivered almonds

1 ounce (without rind) Parmesan cheese, cut into rough 1-inch pieces, plus finely grated Parmesan to serve

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

Two tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup chopped parsley

handful of arugula 

a pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemons in long, wide strips; avoid the white pith just underneath, about ⅔ cup zest strips. 

Bring 2 quarts of water, 1½ teaspoons of salt, one teaspoon of sugar, and 1/3 cup of lemon strips to a boil in a large pot. Once at a boil, cook for two minutes. Then, remove and discard the zest. Add spaghetti to the lemon water pot and cook until it is al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. 

In a food processor, mix the remaining zest strips, almonds, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon sugar, crushed red pepper, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Process until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add the oil and process the mixture again for another 10 seconds until the oil is incorporated (the mixture will not be smooth). Set aside.

Add the lemon pesto and ¾ cup of reserved lemon pasta water to the spaghetti in the pot. Toss everything until the pesto coats the noodles. 

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