A study of pasta and lemon:
We’ve been whipping up lemony orzo since teenhood. Citrusy chicken broth emboldened with black pepper and parmesan is spring in a bowl. It screams for something green: grassy parsley, sweet peas, steamed broccoli, tender asparagus.
Turkey cutlets with lemon thyme cream sauce even made an appearance on the pages of our beloved 1980s-era Seventeen magazine.
Meyer lemons are finally available in our vincinity, though they are a luxury.
We begin with the best of the web, courtesy joelens.blogspot.com:
ITALIAN CHICKEN WITH LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
recipe adapted from Food Network
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 lb cooked angel hair pasta
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
2 ounces Parmesan cheese to garnish
In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often until the shallot is translucent. About 1-2 minutes.
Add the wine to the sautéed shallot pot. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and the thyme and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until it reduces by half. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the hot pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Plate the pasta and top with chicken. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.
LEMONY PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS
1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Grated zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
4 tablespoons fresh ricotta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus where the tip and stem meet. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until softened on the edges. Add the asparagus and season with salt. Cook, stirring to turn and distribute the asparagus, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from the burner.
When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Scoop out about 1/3 cup pasta water, and set aside. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the asparagus along with the butter. Place over medium heat. Use tongs to toss and melt the butter. Add half the lemon juice and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if needed. If the spaghetti is dry, fold in some of the pasta water.
Divide among 2 plates. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan. Drop 2 tablespoonfuls of ricotta on top of each. Devour.
LEMON SPAGHETTI1/2 pound spaghetti or angel hair or other
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.