Dinner for one: Spaghetti with Meyer lemon and goat cheese
When I was young, single and living in New York City, I often ended the day with a simple bowl of pasta. I was working long hours in the publishing business, and while I did have a social life, there were plenty of 14-hour workdays when I'd arrive home at 11pm starving, exhausted and fed up. On nights like that, a bowl of hot pasta with olive oil and garlic was a good friend indeed.
My husband Michael is a protein kind of guy, so my bowl of pure carbohydrate comfort doesn't appeal to him. But today one kid was away on a playdate, and Michael and the other son had gigantic burritos for lunch. When dinnertime rolled around, I was the only one who needed a meal. And I needed a warm bowl of pasta.
This is one of the simplest, yet most delicious, pasta dishes I know. It requires only a few ingredients: spaghetti or angel hair, a lemon, some cheese, a splash of olive oil. If you're feeling fancy and have fresh basil (I didn't), slice it into thin strips and toss it in. Be sure to inhale deeply before you take the first bite - it adds significantly to the pleasure.
[Scroll down for the recipe]
Meyer lemon spaghetti with goat cheese
- 1/2 lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- 1 Meyer lemon (you can substitute regular lemon, but don't use as much of the juice or it will be too sour)
- 1/2 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 ounces fresh, soft goat cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
While the pasta is cooking, grate the zest of the Meyer lemon into a large bowl. Juice the lemon into the same bowl, then add the cheeses, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a healthy grind of black pepper. Ladle a bit of the hot pasta cooking water from the pot into the bowl. Whisk everything together until it's smooth.
When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it to the bowl with the lemon mixture. Toss, grind on a bit more pepper, and eat. Makes dinner for two, or dinner for one plus tomorrow's lunch.