Pasta with Caramelized Lemons and Spinach
- 4 Lemons 2 of them zested
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti fresh or dried
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt more as needed
- Pinch of sugar
- 3 tablespoons Unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes more to taste
- 1 small onion finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup cream
- 2/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese more to taste
- Black pepper as needed
- 1/3 cup parsley coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- You can start the pasta and blanch the lemons at the same time, beginning by bringing two pots of water to boil.
- Zest two of the lemons. Then, cut all the lemons into quarter lengthwise. Slice the quarters thinly crosswise into triangles.
- Cook the pasta to an al dente state. Remove and drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the lemon slices to the second pot of water. Cook for about two minutes. Remove from the water and pat them dry.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over a high setting. Add the lemon slices, along with a pinch of salt and sugar. Saute until the lemon slices are caramelized – they will be slightly browned at the edges. It should take 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the lemons to a plate and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon to a second pan and cook the chopped spinach, adding a splash of water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted, or about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pan at a medium setting. Add the onions, chili flakes, and lemon zest. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the mixture is fragrant. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, cream, sugar, and salt. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Now add the pasta, caramelized lemon slices, spinach, and cheese. Toss to coat the pasta thoroughly.
- Serve it topped with spoonfuls of ricotta, toasted pine nuts, and more Parmigiano as desired.