Spaghetti with Lemon, Prosciutto, and Arugula
Happy Friday! This past week has been crazy to say the least. I won’t go into all the details – I’ll save that for my next Monday Musings post – but suffice it to say it involved the following: a late-night trip to the ER, numerous doctors appointments (both for B and for me), large amounts of cooking (and cleaning!) for photo shoots and recipe development, and a cough so bad that my ribs are bruised.(?!) And just to keep things exciting, I’m in Virginia for the weekend cooking for a good friend’s big 40th birthday party tomorrow night. Never a dull moment. At this point, I’m craving a few days by the pool with a stack of magazines…hopefully I can make that happen in August!
But, on a very exciting note, we found an apartment that we love!! Our application was accepted, we signed the lease, now we are just awaiting approval from the building. Assuming that goes through, we’ll be moving on September 1. Praise God!! I will wait and give all the details once the final bits of paperwork go through, but we are feeling SO relieved not to be searching any more. This place is perfect for us, with a great kitchen, plenty of space for the yellow table – and a nursery for our little one! And best of all: an ELEVATOR!! We are so excited.
Given that life has been anything BUT simple lately, I’m craving foods that are light, summery, and un-fussy. I’ve been too tired to cook anything time-consuming, so dishes like this Lemony Spaghetti with Arugula and Prosciutto are perfect. I created this recipe for my Delish column, using a few of my favorite ingredients that I almost always have on hand: spaghetti, arugula, lemon, prosciutto, and Parmesan. Throwing greens and cured pork into pasta isn’t anything new – what makes this dish so revelatory is the lemon. Rather than just squeezing a bit of juice over the pasta at the end, I decided to use the entire lemon – lemon juice, zest, AND (my favorite part), paper-thin lemon slices.
I probably would have never thought to put lemon slices in pasta had I not been inspired by a fantastic lemon-burrata-arugula pizza at Forcella (one of my favorite pizza spots on the Bowery). When I first saw it on the menu, I was like: “Lemons?! On a pizza?!” It seemed weird, but I was intrigued. The combination of peppery greens, creamy cheese, and tart lemons was insanely delicious. I was instantly hooked, and decided to try out the same concept at home, only in pasta form.
This dish is super-simple, uses easy-to-find ingredients, and will only take you 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. It’s excellent served hot, at room temperature, or even cold. There are a few simple things to keep in mind: this is a dish where the quality of the pasta matters. I made this with Barilla spaghetti and it was excellent. Also: make sure to cook the pasta perfectly al dente – maybe even a minute shy of al dente – as it will continue to cook a few more minutes with the sauce at the end. You want your spaghetti to have a little bite to it, so make sure NOT to overcook it.
I hope you’ll give this dish a try this weekend. Pair it with a crisp, dry, minerally Italian white wine, close your eyes, and pretend you’re on the Amalfi Coast. Buon Appetito!
SPAGHETTI WITH LEMON, PROSCIUTTO, & ARUGULA
1 ½ half lemons
12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
4 cups baby arugula
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Zest and juice 1 lemon (you should have about 1 tablespoon zest and ¼ cup juice) and place in a small bowl. Cut the remaining ½ lemon into thin half moons and remove the seeds. Set aside.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.
Return the spaghetti to the pot, along with the lemon juice and zest, the butter, Parmesan, and ½ cup of the pasta water. Stir gently to combine, adding in additional pasta water if needed. Add in the red pepper flakes, prosciutto, arugula, and lemon slices. Toss gently until the arugula just begins to wilt. Season with salt and pepper (if desired) and serve immediately.
Garnish with additional grated Parmesan.