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Fresh Lemon and Arugula Pasta

Summer is perfect for this finely balanced dish. It's simple enough not to trap you in the kitchen for too long but substantial enough to satisfy. Olga Massov of the blog Sassy Radish was inspired by a similar recipe on the site Food 52. Olga’s version has become a staple in her kitchen for its utter simplicity and adaptability. Ricotta salata or goat cheese would be great here, too, as would finely chopped kale. And splurge on a really good pasta - it plays a starring role in this dish.

Recipe note: Olga went all out on pricey bottarga caviar for her version, although she loves the meal without it, too. To add a little protein in the dish, tuna would be fantastic. If you don’t have Meyer lemons available, use regular lemons, but use a little less juice because they’re more tart.

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Ingredients

Sea salt

1 pound wide egg pasta, such as papardelle

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 Meyer lemons

3 cups baby arugula

1/2 cup fresh ricotta

Freshly ground black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Taste the water—it should taste like the ocean. Add the pasta and cook it until al dente. While the pasta cooks, grate a generous handful of Parmesan into a large serving bowl. Zest the lemons into the same bowl, and add the arugula. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and reserve.

2. Juice one of the lemons and reserve.

3. When the pasta is done, drain it and transfer to the bowl with the cheese, lemon and arugula.

4. Working quickly, sprinkle the lemon juice and some pasta water. Add the ricotta and begin to fold all the ingredients together. Keep folding until the pasta is coated with the sauce, the cheese has melted and the arugula has wilted a bit. Season with pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice or pepper if desired. If the sauce is too gloppy, add a bit more pasta water and mix again.

5. Divide the pasta across shallow bowls. Drizzle with a hint of olive oil.

Serves 2

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