‘Everything You See I Owe to Spaghetti’ – Sophia Loren
Italian screen siren Sophia Loren is famously quoted as saying, “Everything you see I owe to Spaghetti”; and I feel that quote applies to me as well. I owe a lot to spaghetti – or pasta in general. Pasta has given me so much more than just the extra few kilos around my waist. Making pasta is a creative outlet, a form of therapy and a passion of mine. Growing up in a traditional Sicilian family, a lot of the pasta dishes we eat are typically Sicilian, and therefore tomato based. As much as I love tradition, I regularly feel the need to break away from those dishes when I’m cooking. First of all, nobody cooks pasta al ragu better than Mum or Nonna, so when I’m in the kitchen I like to try something different.
As much as I love pasta, I don’t enjoy cooking it or eating a big bowl of hot pasta on a warm day. I can’t think of anything worse than standing over a stove on a hot Summer day. However, I can’t live without my weekly pasta fix, so during the warmer months I like to cook something that isn’t too heavy to digest and doesn’t require me having to spend too much time at the stove. This Spaghetti Al Limone dish became my new obsession over the Summer break. The lemon sauce combines those fresh summer flavours of Basil and lemon, and my favourite ingredient – cheese. It’s fast, it’s fresh, it’s full of flavour and it requires only a handful of ingredients, so it’s an easy dish to whip up when you come home late from work. I made a batch of fresh spaghettini (which is a thinner version of spaghetti), but you can use any store bough pasta. I’d recommend a thin pasta for this dish.
Spaghetti Al Limone
500 g of spaghetti
2/3 cup of olive oil
2/3 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup of lemon juice (roughly 3 lemons)
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water. Stir occasionally until al dente (tender but still firm). This should take about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and lemon juice in a bowl.
Drain the Spaghetti and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce and reserved cooking liquid. Add the liquid a 1/4 at a time as needed to moisten. Garnish with freshly chopped basil, and if you want to enhance the lemon flavour, sprinkle a tablespoon of lemon zest too.