Fried Lemon Pasta with Chile Flakes

Fried Lemon Pasta with Chile Flakes

Fried Lemon Pasta with Chile Flakes

Kosher salt, as needed

4 lemons, preferably Meyer or other thin-skinned lemons

l pound linguine or spaghetti

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

pasPinch of sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, plus more to taste

2/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

Flaky sea salt, for serving


Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Finely grate the zest of 2 lemons and set the zest aside. Juice one of the bald lemons and set the juice aside. (Reserve the second bald lemon in case you want more juice.) Trim the tops and bottoms off the other 2 lemons and cut them lengthwise into quarters; remove the seeds. Slice the lemon quarters crosswise into thin triangles. Blanch the lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes; then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a clean dish towel. Taste the lemons; if they seem bitter, repeat the blanching. When the water returns to a boil, add the linguine and cook until it is just shy of al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain, reserving V2 cup of the pasta cooking water. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the lemon pieces and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Cook until the lemons are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Melt the butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the chile flakes and reserved lemon zest, and cook until fragrant. Whisk in the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss in the pasta, the reserved lemon juice, the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook until the pasta is well coated with the sauce and has finished cooking, about 1 minute. Toss in the caramelized lemons, and the celery leaves and/or parsley if using. Taste, and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve, topped with a drizzle of olive oil, plus more cheese if you like, and a sprinkle of flak}’ sea salt.

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