The English Post

Mezze penne with lemon

Written by Veronica Lavenia

Mezze penne with lemon are an ode to Sicily and Southern Italy.

This recipe, taken from my last book, A Modern Italian table, is made with the lemons from my garden.

Lemon is a citrus fruit with a thousand virtues. It stimulates digestive activity, helps cleanse the body of toxins and is an ally of good humor and beauty thanks to its astringent, cleansing and bleaching properties.

Lemon is rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Scientific studies have shown that tangeritin, present in the lemon peel, is useful for controlling cholesterol levels. The lemon is able to counteract the action of free radicals, the main responsible for cellular aging of the whole body. For the lemon to have positive effects on our health they must be organic and, possibly, local.

In this recipe the lemon goes perfectly with the rest of the ingredients, especially with Pecorino. A good extra virgin olive oil makes the difference as does the pasta, preferably short pasta made with Italian durum wheat.


Mezze penne with lemon: Ingredients

Serves 4

1 organic fresh lemon

50 g (13/4 oz) sliced almonds

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

320 g (11¼ oz) mezze penne, or other short pasta

80 g (3 oz) Pecorino cheese, grated

Mezze penne with lemon: Method

  1. Wash the lemon, grate the zest and squeeze the juice.
  2. Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and brown.
  4. Cook the pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and set aside until needed.
  5. Add the pasta to the pan with the oil and garlic and mix. Remove the garlic. Add the lemon juice. Sprinkle with pecorino, and add some of the reserved cooking water.
  6. Season with lemon zest, almonds and serve immediately.

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About the author

Veronica Lavenia

Veronica, PhD, is an Italian based food writer. Born and raised in Italy, surrounded by the thriving culture and spirit of Sicily, Veronica was a University academic before becoming a food writer. In the context of academic research, she has published essays on the Spanish-American narrative in national and international Academic Journals. As freelance journalist, she wrote about book reviews and tennis. Food was the subject she thought about most so, inspired by family recipes, and valuable Italian culinary heritage, she moved into writing her experiences and studies on the subject.
Sustainability, seasonality and selection of raw materials (as much as possible local, organic and unrefined) are the basis of Veronica’s natural food philosophy.
Cookery author, "Gluten Free Heaven" magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in "Vegetarian Living", "Veggie Magazine", "Lifestyle FOOD", "Australian Good Food & Travel Guide" and "Chickpea", among others.