Midday Fix: Spaghetti al Limone

Christopher Kimball, Founder of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street & Author of Milk Street: Tuesday Nights



Christopher Kimball

Presentation and signing line

Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 W. Ellsworth St. on the campus of North Central College, in Naperville. Presented by Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville.

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street is the Boston base of his food empire. And home cooks can try his new recipes in Milk Street: Tuesday Nights. These tasty and varied options are made to be quick and easy enough for a weekday night.

Yummy meals in less time: a win, win!

Anderson’s Bookshop has locations in Naperville, Downers Grove & La Grange.




Spaghetti al Limone

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

This simple dish may have few ingredients, but it boasts bold, bright flavors. Many versions of include cream, but we preferred to use a little butter and some of the starchy spaghetti-cooking water; this gave the pasta a saucy consistency and light creaminess that didn't mute the freshness of the lemon. Feel free to switch out linguine for the spaghetti and adjust the lemon zest and juice to your taste.

Don't cook the pasta until al dente. Drain it when it's a minute or two shy of al dente; it will continue to cook in the skillet.

5 tablespoons salted butter, divided

8 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

¾ cup dry white wine

12 ounces spaghetti

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice

¾ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil

Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

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 and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced to about ½ cup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

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.

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.

Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the lemon juice and zest, and the parsley. Taste and season with salt and, if needed, adjust the consistency by ading additional pasta water a few tablespoons at a time. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with grated Parmesan.


Tuscan Soup with Bread, Beans and Greens (Ribollita)

S T A R T  T O  F I N I S H :40 minutes

S E R V I N G S: 4

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

5 ounces crusty white bread, such as ciabatta, cut into

1-inch cubes (4 cups)

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1 bunch red Swiss chard, stems removed and sliced

¼ inch thick, leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces and reserved separately

6 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1½ quarts low-sodium chicken broth

Two 15½-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed

In Italian, ribollita means “reboiled,” a reference to this dish’s origins as peasant food—leftover bread, beans and inexpensive vegetables were thrown into a pot and simmered to make a hearty stew-like soup. For our version, we cut the bread into cubes, toasted it in olive oil and used it as a garnish so the bread retained its texture. We liked red Swiss chard for the color it added, but any variety worked. Great Northern beans held their shape nicely, but feel free to use cannellini instead. If you like, top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Dont discard the chard stems. They’re chopped and cooked with the onion and bell pepper for added texture and flavor.

In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the paprika, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the bread and toss to coat. Heat a

12-inch skillet over medium, then add the bread and cook, stirring, until crisp and brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In a large  Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper and chard stems. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and fennel  seeds and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the chard leaves and cook, stirring, until beginning to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium. Stir in the

beans, cover and cook until the chard leaves  are tender, 7 to 9 minutes.

Off heat,  taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the croutons.

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