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
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
- Wash the lemon, grate the zest and squeeze the juice.
- Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over medium heat.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and brown.
- Cook the pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water, and set aside until needed.
- 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.
- Season with lemon zest, almonds and serve immediately.