When I first came across this recipe I was intrigued by it. It called for tossing the raw spaghetti with melted butter and then cooking it in chicken broth until the broth was absorbed. Because I love the way many foods taste when cooked in chicken broth (collards, potatoes, etc.) I thought this had potential. Further – it was EASY. A one pot meal. The only turn-off was that it called for 4 tablespoons of butter for 2 servings and that seemed a bit excessive. Or indulgent. And I wanted this recipe to work not only as a company dish but also as a weeknight side; if it was going to be the latter it couldn’t swim in butter. And, finally, I wanted the lemon to be the most pronounced flavor. Using both lemon zest and lemon juice helped to ensure that.
So I made it several times. First with 4 tablespoons of butter. It was delicious with a noticeable lemony butter taste. Then I tried it with 3 tablespoons of butter and it still fabulous. Then I took it down to 2 tablespoons of butter and I am happy to report that although the ‘butter’ taste wasn’t quite as pronounced as the fully-loaded recipe – it was every bit as delicious and still had a creamy, luscious mouth-feel to it.
To serve this lemon pasta as an entree, I simply added shrimp that I quickly sauteed in olive oil and a bit of red pepper flakes. More on that after the recipe!
Lemon Pasta (adapted from a recipe at Eat.at recipe swap)
- 2 T. butter*
- 4 oz. spaghetti
- 2 cups chicken broth**
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 T. chives, chopped
- pepper to taste
- grate parmesan
- Crack up the pasta into roughly 2″ pieces. Melt butter in a large saucepan until it is frothy, then add the pasta and toss it until the individual pieces are thoroughly coated.
- Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils reduce it to a medium- low simmer and cover it with a lid. Cook for 15 to 30 minutes until almost all of the broth is absorbed. (Start checking at 15 minutes.). Then stir in the lemon juice, zest, chives and pepper to taste. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
If you are interested in making this dish as an entree and would like it topped with shrimp, here’s what I do:
- 12 oz. raw, large shrimp
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Devein the shrimp and then cut them in half, lengthwise. Then I cut each half in half; so 4 pieces from one shrimp (see photos below). The reason I do this is because they cook extremely fast this way with less chance of over cooking the shrimp. And the difference between perfectly cooked shrimp and overcooked shrimp is night and day.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a 12 inch skillet. Once the oil shimmers, added the shrimp and then sprinkle the red pepper flakes on the shrimp. The shrimp will take only 1 to 2 minutes to cook depending on the heat of your range. Turn the shrimps one or twice so that they cook evenly and then remove from heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. To serve, divide the pasta into two portions and then place half of the shrimp on each portion.
*I always cook and bake with unsalted butter. I think it has a much cleaner, fresher taste and it allows me to control the seasoning of each dish.
**I almost always cook with reduced sodium chicken broth. I recommend using this if you are using regular butter (not unsalted). Otherwise, this is one dish that I feel can use either regular chicken broth or reduced sodium chicken broth.