Comfort food: tagliolini al limone

When life gives you lemons

Emiko Davies
January 14, 2016

This is my go-to comfort food meal, the dish I make when I’m too tired to cook, am cooking for one, don’t have much in the fridge, or want something delicious but quick. It’s a meal that can be whipped up from start to finish in under 10 minutes, and, with fresh rather than dried pasta, needs only a few minutes of actual cooking time. The sharp, lemony tang and cheesy creaminess of the sauce go very well with chili, so if you like things spicy, feel free to add some chopped fresh chilli or a pinch of dried flakes.


Only the zest

In recipes that require lemon zest, always use untreated or organic lemons. Conventionally grown lemons may be covered with a preservative used to extend their shelf life—wax and fungicide mixture that you don’t want to grate into your food. In Italy, look for lemons that are non trattati.




Tagliolini al limone recipe

(serves 2)



250 grams fresh tagliolini or linguine pasta (or 160 grams dried pasta)

Zest and juice of 1 large organic, untreated lemon

50 grams (3½ tablespoons) butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

50 grams (3½ tablespoons) caprino (creamy goat cheese)

Handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste, plus salt for boiling pasta



Put a large pot of water (about 2 litres) on to boil for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add half a tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook until al dente. If you’re using fresh pasta, the few minutes of cooking is all you’ll need to make the sauce.


Place the butter and olive oil together in a wide pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to melt, add the lemon zest (make sure there is none of the bitter white pith) and let cook for a minute, stirring. Do not let the lemon burn. Add about half a cup of the water that the pasta is cooking in, along with the lemon juice. Let simmer for a minute or two. Add the goat cheese and a tablespoon of the pasta water and let it melt into a sauce. Season with salt and pepper.


Drain the cooked pasta, saving about a cup of the cooking water if needed. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. If it seems a bit dry, add a splash of the reserved cooking water. Garnish with chopped parsley and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


Text and photo by Emiko Davies (c) 2016 The Florentine

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