Friday, August 5, 2011

Toasted Lemon Penne


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound penne rigate pasta
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
For the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a high-sided skillet, whisk the butter over medium heat until melted. Simmer until foamy. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a caramel color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and capers. Toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.

Note: To toast the pine nuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

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