Spaghetti Al Limone

Another recipe that started from an idea I got at Milk Street. This one caught my eye recently and then I decided to tweak it some and make it my own. These qualities yield 4 portions as a main course or 6-8 as a tasty side dish.


5 Tbs unsalted butter
3 Tbs minced garlic or 8 garlic cloves
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
½ cup red or green bell pepper, finely chopped
3/4 cup white wine
2 Tbs lemon Zest
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs capers, drained
2 Tbs fresh basil finely chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz box of thin spaghetti
Kosher salt and coarse ground pepper, to taste


  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the pepper flakes, finely chopped bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine, add capers and cook until reduced to about ½ cup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside..
  2. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain and set aside
  3. Set the skillet with the garlic mixture over medium-high, stir in 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the drained pasta and toss. Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the lemon juice and zest, and the basil. Taste and season with salt and, if needed, adjust the consistency by adding additional pasta water a few tablespoons at a time. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with grated Parmesan.