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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Lasagnette with Lemon Recipe

Lemon Lasagnette
Do you believe in reincarnation? Not being part of my cultural or religious tradition the concept of reincarnation always seemed pretty farfetched to me. Except for one thing. I buy dry pasta like it's going out of style. Right now I have on hand 33 packages. From the typical angel hair, spaghetti, lasagna to the more unusual like campanelle, trinette, and maniconi. And it's been months since I purchased any. It's not like we eat it every day or anything. But subconsciously I feel the need to stock up. Could I have been a poor, starving Italian in a past life? Quite possibly.

Many people are avoiding pasta these days because of their fear of carbs. Shame really. My suggestion is to make pasta a first course instead of a main course, as it's done in Italy. My other suggestion is that when you want to make a really special pasta course, use an artisanal pasta like Pasta di Gragnano, Rustichella d'Abruzzo or the less expensive but equally good brand Latini available locally at A.G. Ferrari or look for it at your local gourmet or specialty grocer. Those dry pastas are extruded through a bronze dye which yields a rougher texture that truly holds the sauce much better than the typical brands. But for everyday meals, do like most most Italians do and choose Barilla or De Cecco, whichever you like better.

This recipe may seem strange at first, but it is piquant and delicious, perfect for those times when the cupboard is bare. I adapted it from a long out-of-print recipe booklet published by Barilla.

Lasagnette with Lemon
Serves 4-6


3/4 lb lasagnette (you can also use tagliatelle or fettucine)
1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
4 shallots or 1 very small onion (about 1/3 cup chopped)
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash the lemon and grate the rind then juice the lemon. Peel and chop up onions or shallots. In a large skillet saute the onion in olive oil, when tender but not brown, add the lemon juice and grated rind and paprika. Cook the pasta until al dente. Toss the pasta in the pan with the sauce, adding some of the pasta water if needed. Season generously with salt and pepper.