tagliatelle limone

I ate chocolate cake for breakfast two days in a row. I suppose I could call it research and development for work. I mean, it is important to know how many days homemade devil’s food cake lasts exactly, right? Of course, it’s that kind of fuzzy logic that has me wondering why my jeans feel more snug than I’d like.

It’s easy to blame the weather. The temperatures drop, and the needle on my scale rises. Okay, that last bit is a lie. The only scale I own is my OXO one for baking (big surprise!). Years ago, my real scale broke, the needle stuck at 25 pounds, and the kids couldn’t understand why I kept it for so long.

But back to this cake problem, um, I mean work dilemma. Rather than forsake sweets, I tend towards moderation in other ways to balance out my lack of running since the snow started falling mid-January. Salads always find their place at our dinner table, and lately I find myself going back for seconds on them before the main course. My guy isn’t generally a salad person, so I was quite flattered that he’s enjoyed everyone I’ve made so far. There are a couple of basic things that define good cooks, the art of salad making ranking high for me. It’s about texture and flavor, and getting both of these into every bite. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself here. I’ve worked you up to the edge of your seats about how to make an awesome salad, when what I really have for you is a hearty pasta dish that won’t further compromise your waistline. One of my favorite comfort foods is spaghetti limone (it should be noted that my kids don’t agree, but if I cooked based on their likes alone, we’d eat the same four meals ). It’s also a quick weeknight meal, taking less than 20 minutes to make (basically the amount of time to boil a pot of water and cook the pasta). If I really had my way, I’d settle into a booth at Lil’ Frankies for a bowl when the craving strikes. They really do make the best I’ve ever had. When eating out, I don’t count calories. Actually, I never truly count calories, I just aim for moderation and balance. The original version of this dish is made with cream, and heavy-handed on the cheese. I’m not willing to sacrifice the salty, sharp flavor of Pecorino when making it at home, but swapping in something lighter for the cream feels like a harmless compromise.

The recipe I’m sharing today is from the winter issue of Simple Scratch Cooking, so it’ll be familiar to those of you who’ve ordered the magazine. The print issues are sold out, but digital copies are still available. Work on the spring issue is underway. Until then, this lighter twist on spaghetti limone is my wild card, allowing me to bake my cake and eat it, too.

Tagliatelle Limone

Serves 2 to 4, as an appetizer or entrée

8 ounces tagliatelle pasta, uncooked

2/3 cup (150 grams) plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup (36 grams) grated Pecorino Locatelli cheese

Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, add the yogurt, cheese, and lemon zest to a small bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Drain the pasta, and add it back to the cooking pot. Add the butter, and toss the pasta until it’s all melted. Pour in the yogurt mixture. Toss well with a fork or tongs, making sure to coat the pasta completely. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta into deep bowls. Sprinkle some chopped parsley on top before serving, if you like.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes

Make it Your Own

The traditional dish is made with spaghetti, but I decided to swap in the thicker cut tagliatelle shape. Feel free to go back to the original, use angel hair, or even your favorite shaped pasta.  

Here are some more comforting pasta recipes from Food Network’s #ComfortFoodFeast.
Feed Me Phoebe: Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Cabbage Slaw
The Mom 100: Creamy Goat Cheese and Spinach Linguine
The Cultural Dish: Homemade Pasta and Top 3 Light and Easy Pasta Recipes
Taste with the Eyes: A Unique Pasta Made of Black Beans – Gluten-Free, Lower-Carb
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Ravioli with Asparagus, Green Pea Sauce & Sauteed Scallops
Red or Green: Pasta Cacio e Pepe (pasta with pecorino & black pepper)
Dishin & Dishes: The Best Homemade Ravioli Ever
FN Dish: 5 Back-Pocket Pastas That Always Have Your Back