The first time I made this noodle dish, it was just for myself. It was a time when my friend, Joel, was still updating his blog, and he and I often exchanged food notes via FB Messenger. He saw a pasta recipe in the cooking section of the NY Times and shared the link with me. I was curious, I had the ingredients, and I cooked the dish. Then, I shared my version with him. And the rest of the world.
It’s still the same recipe. Even the photos are the same. I do have additional cooking tips though.
Tip #1: Cook the pasta in generously salted water and undercook by about a minute. When tossed in the pan, it will finish cooking in the sauce.
Tip #2: Don’t skip the part about blanching the lemon. Do it — otherwise, the lemons will make the cooked pasta dish taste bitter.
Tip #3. If you’re not a fan of anchovies (but, really, give them a try!), you may substitute canned tuna or sardines. The cooked dish will NOT taste the same, the flavors will be diluted and the indescribable richness anchovies cured in brine and packed in oil, but you’ll still have a lovely meal.
Linguine with anchovies and caramelized lemon
- Zest the lemon and set the grated zest aside.
- Cut off the white pith covering the lemon and discard.
- Cut the lemon into segments and pry off the seeds.
- Boil of cup of water and blanch the lemon segments for a minute. Scoop out and drain on paper towels.
- Heat the butter and olive oil. Add the blanched lemon segments with the sugar, lemon zest and chili. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and turns a shade darker. Don’t worry if the lemon segments almost liquefy.
- Add the anchovy fillets, breaking them into bits as you stir.
- Throw in the cooked pasta. Season with a little pepper. Toss to coat the noodles with sauce.
- Add the Parmesan and parsley. Toss a couple of times more. Taste and add salt, if needed.
- Twirl the pasta into a shallow bowl. Top with more anchovy fillets, chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.