As much as I love a robust meat or game sauce, a summer basil pesto, or a rich cheese sauce, when it comes to enjoying good, homemade fresh pasta, I prefer a more delicate sauce.
This one is fresh and lemony, with just enough cheese to still make it a comfort food. It is bright as a sunny winter morning, thanks to the juice and zest of a whole lemon. Fresh thyme provides a herbal note, and black pepper warms it up.
With your batch of fresh pasta, make tagliolini, thin noodles that cook in no time at all in a large pot of boiling water, then dress them with this lemony sauce to begin the new year on a bright note.
Serves 4 people as a first course, 2 as a main
- 1 batch fresh pasta dough
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- Juice and zest of 1 organic lemon
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh thyme, to taste
Make your fresh pasta dough and let it rest for 30 minutes. Dust a large wooden surface with semolina flour.
After the resting time, roll out the dough into very large, thin sheets, working in batches as needed. You can use a classic rolling pin on a flat working surface or a pasta machine. Either way, the most important thing is to keep rolling and flipping and rolling and flipping until the dough is paper-thin.
Let the pasta sheets dry on the semolina-dusted wooden surface for about 20 minutes. Then, cut the sheets into thin noodles: You can use the tagliolini attachment for the pasta machine, or a very sharp knife. To cut with a knife, loosely roll up each pasta sheet, cut it into thin strips, then unfold the noodles and loosely toss them. Arrange the tagliolini on the wooden surface or on a large tray, sprinkled with more semolina, to dry. They can be used straight away, or dried for about 1 hour.
In a skillet over low heat, melt the butter with the lemon juice and zest.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the tagliolini for about 1 minute, until al dente. Drain, reserving a tablespoon of the cooking water, and add the tagliolini and reserved water to the butter and lemon mixture. Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly ground black pepper, and some fresh thyme leaves.
Toss the tagliolini for a minute or two over low heat, allowing the cheese to melt with the butter and lemon juice into a creamy, zesty sauce for the pasta. Add some more fresh thyme and serve immediately.