Monday, May 30, 2011

Pasta with Lemon, Hot Peppers and Pecorino Romano

To take advantage of the fresh pasta we picked up today from Eataly I decided to make a recipe from one of my Batali cookbooks that I have been wanting to make for awhile now.  There are several Batali pasta recipes and pasta dishes at his restaurants that include jalapenos (or other chilis) - including some that call for lobster and crab that I have been very intrigued by for some time.  This is the first time that we have attempted one of those recipes.  The dish was intended to be made with fresh fettuccine, but since we picked up fresh maccheroni alla chitarra (a spaghetti-like fresh pasta that is forced through a device that looks like a loom or a harp that cuts the pasta into square shapes) we used that instead.

I really liked this pasta.  I thought that the lemon sauce was bright and lemony without being overbearing or too acidic and the sauteed onions were nice and sweet.  The last time we made a pasta with a lemon sauce (Lemon Fettucine with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes) I thought that the lemon was too acidic and harsh.  Here it was nice and mellow, lemon tempered by the wonderful richness from all that butter.  Alex and I were surprised by how little heat the jalapenos and chili flakes lent the pasta, but I guess our jalapeno wasn't very hot to begin with and once we took out all the seeds it lost any heat that it might have originally had.  Instead of heat from the jalapeno you got a nice mild chili flavor, which I thought was nice.  In the future I might add an extra dash of red chili flakes for just a little more heat, but overall I thought this was a really nice dish.  I liked how the flavors were so distinct from all of the other pastas we have made in the past.

Recipe after the jump!

Pasta with Lemon, Hot Peppers and Pecorino Romano
Molto Italiano
By Mario Batali

2 tbsp evoo
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 jalapenos, seeded and cut into thin slivers
zest and juice of 3 lemons
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 lbs fresh pasta (we used fresh Maccheroni alla Chitarra, but the recipe actually calls for fettucine)
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 2 tbsp salt. 

Meanwhile, in a 10-12-inch skillet, heat the evoo over medium heat until almost smoking.  Add the onion and the red pepper flakes and saute until softened and translucent, 8-10 minutes.  Add the jalapenos and saute for 1 minute.  Add the lemon zest and juice, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and season to taste with s&p.  Set aside.

Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender, 1-2 minutes.  Drain.

Toss the hot pasta into the pan with the lemon mixture, return to medium heat, and mix well, stirring gently.  Add the pecorino and toss quickly.  Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve immediately.

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