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In Amalfi, Italy, we were taught a delicious, bracing pasta dish of handmade lemon fettuccine tossed with a simple, quick sauté of garlic, olive oil and fresh lemon segments. To mimic the sweet, mild flavor of Amalfi lemons using the standard lemons available in U.S. supermarkets, we temper their tartness and acidity with a little sugar. Briefly cooking the lemon segments softens both their tang and texture so the pieces break down and disappear into the noodles. In place of freshly made lemon pasta, we opt for store-bought fresh fettuccini but boil it in water infused with strips of lemon zest; we later use some of the pasta water to build the sauce, and we chop the softened zest strips for tossing into the tangle of noodles.
teaspoons white sugar, divided
01Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 2 lemons in long, wide strips; try to remove only the colored portion of the peel, not the bitter white pith beneath. Grate the zest from the remaining 2 lemons; reserve in a small bowl. Using a paring knife, cut about ½ inch off the top and bottom of one of the lemons and stand it on a cut end. Working from top to bottom, cut away the pith following the contours of the fruit, exposing the flesh. Now cut along both sides of the membranes separating the sections to free the segments. Remove and discard the seeds from the segments, then add the segments to a small bowl along with the juices. Repeat with a second lemon. Reserve the remaining 2 lemons for another use.
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