As you might have guessed, I am the primary cooker in our house.

I enjoy experimenting, trying new ingredients and using my husband as my own personal guinea pig.

But then there are those days. Days that seem to drag on forever as the clock ticks by at the speed of mud, when a coworker is just a little too irritating, when I have more unread email than patience, when there’s a torrential rain storm and of course a hundred errands need to be done, when the dentist is running 4 hours late or when I just plain woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  It’s on these days when the last thing I want to do is put more than a smidgen of effort into cooking dinner. Driving to the corner to pick up a burrito is too taxing of a task.

It’s on these days that I look to easy.

To me, easy means being able to throw a meal together quickly without thinking, measuring or having to go out and buy something.

That’s when I turn to lemon and garlic spaghetti.

Despite it’s simplicity, this is one of my absolute favorite dishes. Not only does it contain ingredients I always have around, requires very little prep work and is quick to put together, it’s pasta. So it fills the “soothing comfort” quota too for those days that can be logged under the Total Crap column.

No matter the day, there are always lemons and garlic on the counter, and olive oil, chile pepper and spaghetti in the pantry, because without them, I am without balance.

But I digress.

It’s really all about the sauce. Olive oil is infused with garlic and red chile, for a little punch. The warm olive oil gently poaches the garlic, rendering it soft and almost creamy. Then we add zippy lemon zest and juice and freshly ground black pepper to finish off this light sauce. This lovely concoction gets tossed with hot pasta, coating every noodle with lemony garlic goodness. If you are feeling really spunky, you could always dust the pasta with a grating of fresh parmigiana. A little cheese never hurt nobody.

Lemon and garlic spaghetti is light, simple to throw together, and contains enough garlic to keep Kristen Stewart away. Next time life is totally kicking your ass, whip up a batch. It heals all wounds.

Lazy Lemon and Garlic Spaghetti

1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
pinch (or two) crushed red pepper
4-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 lemons (2 will be zested, all 3 will be juiced)
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti
salt, for the pasta water

View step-by-step photos of this recipe plus tips on how I eyeball ingredients (instead of measuring) on the Facebook page.

Bring a large pasta pot of water to a boil. Give it a good handful of salt then add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, combine olive oil, red pepper and garlic in a small sauce pot. Heat on medium until garlic begins to sizzle. Remove from heat.

Zest two of the lemons. Then, juice all the lemons. Combine zest and juice in a bowl.

A couple minutes before the pasta is done, add the lemon juice, zest and a few grinds of black pepper to the olive oil. Bring to a quick boil and remove from heat.

Drain the pasta, then put it back in the pot. Add the olive oil, garlic, lemon mixture. Toss the pasta. DONE.

2 thoughts on “lazy lemon and garlic spaghetti

  1. I made this last night and it was AMAZING. It came together quickly and I topped it off with a handful of parsley for color. I didn't know I could make something so tasty and flavorful in the time it takes to boil pasta water. Highly recommended!

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