Lemon pasta is not new. I’ve made it myself plenty of times with no recipe and Giada’s version practically went viral. What makes this version different is that you’re not using the typical cream and there’s some extra greenery thrown in. These changes don’t seem major and they don’t take any additional time, but it really changes the final dish. This recipe came from the New York Times in a section for one-pot meals and it truly is as simple as they professed.
Start by boiling 1 lb pasta 2-3 min less than the package directs. [I used Trader Joe’s new fusilli corti bucati, which is basically what happens when the corkscrews of fusilli and the hollow spaghetti of bucatini had a baby…and I hope TJ’s never gets rid of it.] Reserve 1 c of pasta water and drain your noods before returning to the pot at medium-low. Stir in ¾ cup of the pasta water, the juice of half a lemon (you’ll want to have zested it first and set the zest aside), 3/4 c. Parmesan, and several grinds of black pepper, stirring rapidly. Add more pasta water in bits at a time to make more of a sauce if it looks to be on the dry side. Stir in 1/4 c. labneh or full fat Greek yogurt, the juice from the other half of the lemon, the zest of the lemon, and 2 sliced scallions (the fullll scallions – white, light green, and green). Stir everything together until it’s nice and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle chives and additional parm on the top. [The chives were my addition to the recipe and I think it was a good one.]
My version didn’t end up quite as creamy as I would have liked (probably because I was using a very hearty pasta shape) so just remember you can always tweak the proportions of the pasta water, Greek yogurt, and parmesan. I love having a creamy pasta that doesn’t rely on, well, cream. And with all that lemon and spring vibes of the scallions and chives this is a bright lil pasta. I could see it working very well on an Easter spread.