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A citrusy take on pesto that flavors the pasta from the inside out

Spaghetti with Lemon Pesto

25 minutes

Spaghetti with Lemon Pesto

This unusual pasta dish is modeled on the spaghetti al pesto di limone from Italy’s Amalfi coast. Amalfi lemons, best known for their use in the production of limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, are enormous, with extremely thick skin and a sweet, floral fragrance and flavor. By comparison, the variety of lemons commonly available in the U.S. are sharper and more brash in taste. So to make a lemon pesto that approximated the original, we use a little sugar to temper any harshness. For an extra layer of citrus complexity, we add lemon zest to the pasta cooking water; the oils that the zest releases lightly perfumes the spaghetti and reinforces the lemony notes of the pesto.

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