Well, I hope you’re happy, you who yearn for fall and start pinning pictures of pumpkins and sweaters and boots on Pinterest in JUNE and/or have excited countdowns for the start of football season. It might seem irrational to blame a certain group of people for the bitter cold and varying degrees of snow outside, but someone has to take the blame for this and I’m going to aim it at anyone who hopes for summer to come and go quickly and for fall to start immediately after Labor Day. Because the more hype there is around all things autumnal, the more likely we seem to be destined to get a brutal winter. I know I really shouldn’t complain because for the most part we’ve only been dealing with brutal cold while our friends in New England have been getting terrifying/downright absurd levels of snow, but the average high here for this time of year is supposed to be in the mid-forties.
As I write this, the current temperature is SEVENTEEN, and we’ll be lucky if we get into the high twenties today. I’m all for hygge and coziness and the like, but at some point I’d also like us to move closer in the direction of springtime.
The one upside to this frigid-ness is that it is a great excuse to fire up the stove or the oven to make something warm and comforting, so over the weekend we proceeded to make bouillabaisse on Valentine’s Day and then Michael wanted to braise a couple of meaty lamb shanks on Sunday. Typically when we’ve done this in the past we’ll serve it with some warm and cheesy polenta on the side, but I was more in the mood for pasta and specifically a pasta that was on the light and cheerful side.
After much hemming and hawing and flipping through cookbooks, I stumbled upon Franny’s Meyer lemon pasta and had my answer. Of course, the Teet no longer has Meyers in stock so I went with the suggested alternative of using a lemon and a tangerine, and for good measure I added in some parsley and some blood orange zest because I can’t leave well enough alone and not buy all of the blood oranges that I see either at the grocery store or at the Cross Street market.
This ended up being a great first course before diving into our sizeable lamb shanks–the addition of the parsley made the sauce slightly resemble that of a gremolata, and even with the use of butter the pasta never felt overly heavy or ever coming close to a gut bomb. Employing all that citrus certainly made me feel like I was making the most of the one fruit group that is delicious this time of year, and maybe, just for a moment, I forgot about the howling winds outside.
Spaghetti with Mixed Citrus and Parsley
adapted from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian
- 1 lb spaghetti
- Zest and juice from one lemon
- Zest and juice from one tangerine
- Zest (only) from one blood orange
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 6 tablespoons butter
Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt well, and cook spaghetti until you are just shy of al dente (usually two to four minutes shorter than what the box recommends depending on the brand). While the pasta is cooking, reserve at least a 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, combine the zest, parsley, and pepper into one bowl while adding the juice, salt, and cheese to a second bowl. When the pasta has been drained, add it and about a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to a large skillet over medium to medium low heat, and then add the butter and toss well to combine. Add the two bowls (first zest and then the juices) and again toss well to combine, using a bit more cooking water to help bring the sauce together in the pan if things look a bit dry. Place in serving bowls and serve immediately, with extra cheese on top if desired. (I always desire it.)