FETTUCCINE WITH LEMON CREAM AND SPICY TOMATO TOPPING
by Renee Behnke and Cynthia Nims
Although this could easily be served as a main course, I typically serve the rich pasta as a small starter course. The spicy tomato and zesty lemon elements contrast perfectly with the richness of the cream sauce. When serving this as an entree, I'll often add sauteed shrimp for a little more substance.
The tomato topping makes more than is needed here (it's really a finishing touch), but you'll be happy to have extra on hand to toss with sauteed green beans or to spoon over baked fish
Makes 8 to 10 Servings
• 1 pound dry fettuccine
SPICY TOMATO TOPPING
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
• 2 large shallots, chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 carrot, diced
• 1 can (28 ounces) diced plum tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
• 3/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
LEMON CREAM SAUCE
• 1½ cups whipping cream
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
• 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1. For the topping, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the carrot and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the onion and carrots are tender and lightly browned; decrease the heat if needed to avoid burning. Add the tomatoes (reserving the liquid) and simmer 45 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be rather thick, but if it seems too dry, add 1/4 cup or so of the tomato liquid. Stir in the red pepper flakes with salt to taste. Let cool, then puree in a food processor with 8 to 10 pulses, until moderately smooth but still a bit chunky, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice.
2. For the lemon sauce, combine the cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and taking care that the cream doesn't boil over. Decrease the heat to medium- low and simmer 10 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the fettuccine and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta well, then return to the empty pot. Add the lemon cream sauce, lemon zest, and half of the Parmesan. Toss to evenly coat the fettuccine.
4. Transfer the pasta to individual warmed pasta bowls, spoon 1/4 cup of the spicy tomato topping on top, and pass the remaining Parmesan cheese separately.
Menu Ideas: This rich, filling dish goes well as a precursor to grilled meats and fish.
Do-Ahead Tips: The tomato sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to a month The lemon sauce should be made no more than 1 hour in advance. The pasta should be cooked and the dish assembled Just before serving.