Spaghetti al Limone Per Due

When I walked into Trader Joe’s this weekend, I discovered little bags of Meyer lemons. They are so special, I had to buy them. Then, when I went up to Napa for a doggie hike and lunch at my friend’s house, there was her lemon tree absolutely overloaded with fruit, just not quite ready. It’s definitely citrus season in California.


This is basically a simple dish that comes together fairly quickly and easily from pantry ingredients. You can share tasks of zesting lemon and grating cheese over glasses of wine.


I’ve only ever had this pasta by myself, but I believe thoughtfully planning and preparing delicious food for just me is a reminder that we have to love ourselves first…before we can truly love another.

A pound of spaghetti can serve 4 people. I find it easier to make the recipe as is, rather than cutting it in half. Besides, leftovers are wonderful! Who doesn’t love cold pasta for breakfast? You could even add an egg on top, fried, poached, or soft-boiled.

So, if you don’t have heavy cream, you can totally use half-and-half. Reduce it on lower heat so it doesn’t break. The sauce will be lighter. If you don’t already own a zester, I urge you to make this little investment. Once you have one of these babies, you’ll wonder how you ever thought you didn’t need it. If you don’t already have a great peppermill, it’s totally worth investing in a sturdy, well-designed pepper mill that delivers different grinds.

By the way, a non-reactive pan is stainless steel, ceramic, non-stick. A reactive pan is one that contains metals that might interact with certain foods. Aluminum, cast iron, and unlined copper are all examples of reactive metals.

You just may want to have two bottles of white wine in the fridge…


  • 1 lemon1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • ¾ to 1 ½ cups heavy cream, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter, in pieces
  • 3 ½ to 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste.



  1. Zest lemon, making sure you avoid any white pith (the bitter stuff). Juice lemon, strain any seeds, and reserve. Place zest in large non-reactive pan with wine and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and cook until it reduces to a syrupy mixture, about 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and pour in about 1/4 cup of cream. Stir, then pour in remaining cream. Return to stove and gently bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it is thickened and reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, bring large pot of generously salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain.
  4. Return hot pasta pot to stove. Pour in cream, butter and lemon juice, stir, then add hot drained pasta and a few tablespoons of cooking water. Toss together and add cheese in three or four parts, tossing each to meld with sauce. Add more cooking water if sauce is too thick or sticky. It should be creamy and loose, but not watery, of course.
  5. Ladle onto plates and drizzle each portion with olive oil, then add a little salt and pepper. The dish really doesn’t *need* more cheese, but nobody’s saying you can’t sprinkle more on top.
  6. Pour more wine and enjoy!


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