Updated: Dec 8, 2020
by Maurice Alexander
Winter is typically thought of as the culinary bereft time of the seasonal calendar, a windswept period where we retreat into our homes away from the howling frosted wind to return to a diet like that of Dickens' characters with our bread sauce and root vegetables. However, in the flourishing vigour of the global economy, all segments of the globe are involved in serving the world’s gastronomic desires with mechanic fluidity.
As you read this recipe in the cold heart of February in the northern hemisphere, acres of land are burgeoning with the produce on the opposite with of the world, gnarled groves exuding the sharp, alluring fragrance of citrus fruit, the trees festooned with lemons storing the warmth of the tropics within their oval forms. Considering now is the perfect time to enjoy citrus flavours and that the demands of university are building up, here is a recipe for lemon linguine that allows you to readily feed yourself and enjoy the flavours of distant summer.
Ingredients - Serves 2
This recipe is to be tailored to your own flavour preferences, so use the following measurements as guidelines.
Dried Linguine 200g
The zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 juiced lemons
4 heaped tablespoons of parmesan cheese
150ml double cream
1 tablespoon of butter
Flat leaf parsley
Two egg yolks
Begin with a large vat of heavily salted water. I use a large double-handled pot filled with the volume of two recently boiled kettles and use two or three handfuls of course sea salt. I use this type of salt as you are prone to over-salting due to dynamics of space and volume, and you will notice a more gentle saltiness on a marine bed. It would be a waste to use half a box of Maldon salt just to salt water, so I use the Saxa brand of coarse sea salt for this. Raise the heat until the water is at a roaring boil.
Linguine pasta must be used in place of spaghetti, as the meaty bite of al-dente linguine provides the bite of the dish, as it lacks any meat or solid vegetable. Weigh the pasta and place into the tormented water. Stir frequently for the first few minutes to agitate the pasta to prevent it from sticking together, leaving them to cook unsupervised once their forms have relaxed, stirring occasionally. As substantial bite of the dish is so dependent on the cooking of the linguine, strain the pasta one minute less than the minimum cooking time to prevent overdoing the pasta and retaining the tangible bite, accounting for the fact that the pasta has several stages to go until being served.
The 10 minutes required for the pasta is ample time to prepare the sauce. Begin with separating the yolks of the eggs from the white through the interplay of two eggshells. It always feels wasteful discarding good parts of any ingredient and what a tragedy to miss out on future pavlovas with the tossing the egg whites! Crack the egg on the side of the bowl and allow the whites of the eggs to fall into the mouth of an open freezer bag or foil tub which allows them to packed away in the freezer until you have four eggs whites, consider it a reward for your sustainability and patience.
With the two yellow faces of the yolks in the bowl, add the 4 to 5 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese. Measuring tablespoons of any grated ingredient is almost impossible as your grate, so what to do is grate a reasonable amount of the parmesan onto a board or plate and just take generous pinches of the cheese shavings and place them into a tablespoon before tipping the cheese into the bowl. Just take the wedge of the cheese by eye but you do not need exactly four or five tablespoon measurements, I just tip the best of the cheese into the board along with the previous measurements, permitting it is a reasonable amount with two tablespoons. Always remember that this recipe is fool-proof, so if you have added too much cheese, just add more lemon juice or cream to counterbalance it. Mix the orange yolks and the pale golden parmesan together with the use of a fork.
Roll the lemon under the palm of your hand whilst exerting a considerable weight upon it. This is to rupture the bowels of the lemon and release a much higher volume of juice than without this step. Before slicing, finely grate the yellow fruit into the bowl. The act of grating any fruit with a zest begins with knowing that it would be with a light pressure and short, swift movements of the lemons surface against the instruments blades. The hesitant pressure ensures that you do not grate past the bright, spritely zest and include alongside the bitter, white pith. Short movements are ensure that the miniscule fragments of lemon zest are suspended throughout the body of the sauce, as opposed to length, elongated movements used when grating zest, which would give thin strips of zest that would be overpowering and uncomfortable on the palette. Alternatively, if you have had to use the zest of the lemon for cake or meringue décor and you’re simply left with the juice, just use the juice of two lemons in place of the zest and juice of one.
Bare of its yellow cuticle, you can now move onto draining of the lemon of its acidic juice. With the use of a sharped knife, slice the lemon in half through its width. There are many ways to juice a lemon and I enjoy the more primal technique of crushing a half within my grip to see the lemons vessels give way to its translucent, scented blood. This is all done suspended over the bowl to catch the juice and after thoroughly drained, I pick out any lemon pips that may have been carried in.
The final step is the addition of the cream. I repeat that this recipe is all about your own personal taste, so you may use more or less cream than me, the addition being entirely dependent on if you prefer a cheesier sauce, creamier sauce or more astringent sauce. As this is a lemon-linguine, the lemons must be the dominant flavour and to permit this, I use about 150mls of double cream for a two-person serving. I just pour it in and mix the contents of the bowl together until combined. I usually take a few tastes until the flavour is to my liking, any adjustments varying with each preparation. No salt is added as salt is contained within the parmesan and instilled into the pasta from the salted water, and there is an absence of black pepper as it disrupts the summery loveliness provided by this dish. The sauce should be the palest yellow, flecked with the marigold zest to resemble exotic marble.
After the minus-one-minute cooking time is up, decant the contents of the linguine pot into a strainer/colander, shake off excess water and return to the pot with a tablespoon of unsalted butter. From this point on, the pot is to be removed from the heat. Carefully stir the linguine until every strand is coated in the melted butter, and tip the lemon sauce into the pot, stirring frequently. The heat of the linguine melts the parmesan and gently cooking egg yolks to form a velvet, primrose emulsion.
Divide the pasta between two plates and roughly chop the leaves and tender stems of flat-leaf parsley so that the green shards rain down over the pasta dish, coloured as the morning sun.