Since hearing of pasta recipes like this one, I’ve been very intrigued. I love the idea of a pasta dish that merely requires you to mix some things in a bowl, toss in the cooked pasta (and some reserved pasta cooking liquid), garnish with some cheese, and serve. If you have access to fresh and flavorful ingredients, it’s the best solution for a quick and satisfying meal.
The recipe I hinted at above (Fettuccine with Lemon, Mint and Parmesan) is [obviously] made with fresh mint and lemon, a flavor combination I haven’t dealt with a lot in the pasta department; I’m usually going for a more hearty, rib-sticking recipe when I take the time to make pasta. As a mint-lover, I was interested in what this might be like.
I recently received some olive oils from Nudo Italia – the lemon, fresh mint and chocolate varieties – all of which are fantastic. The flavored olive oils really shine because they literally press the fruit or herb, etc. (lemons, fresh mint, or cocoa nibs) with the olives, seamlessly blending the flavors. Also, I am a sucker for cute packaging, and I cannot get over how adorable their olive oil tins are. The company is also unique because you can “adopt” an olive tree and then receive quarterly shipments of oil from your tree (and some of its neighbors). Isn’t that fun?
So, back to the pasta – I wanted to do a lemon-y, mint-y pasta, but my fresh mint hadn’t started growing yet. I decided to do an adaptation of that recipe (with some additions), but using my fresh mint olive oil to compensate for the lack of fresh mint. Robert doesn’t always like mint or lemon flavors to be overly dominant in what he’s eating, so I was expecting this pasta to be all for me. I made it for lunch on a Saturday, and it felt SO WEIRD to me. I usually only make pasta in the evening, so making a pot of pasta on a Saturday afternoon felt almost sacrilegious and a little naughty. Isn’t that strange? I bet other [normal] people make pasta on Saturday afternoons. I should start doing it more often.
Anyway, moving on – this pasta was not all for me. Robert actually really liked it. We both liked it enough that due to recipe testing (hazards of being a food blogger), we ate this for many meals, two weeks in a row. I loved it and would describe it as a light and fresh, lemon and herb-packed alfredo pasta. You get the cheesiness of an alfredo without the heaviness, and the mint olive oil adds just a touch of extra zing and freshness in the background. I will definitely be making this again – especially with how easy it is to throw together. It’s the perfect spring pasta to make on a Saturday afternoon with the windows open while Norah Jones is singing from your iPhone propped up on the windowsill. Take my word for it.
While I was not monetarily compensated for this post, Nudo Italia was kind enough to send me samples of their product. All opinions are my own, and I highly recommend their olive oils!
- 1 lb. linguine or fettuccine
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp mint olive oil
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- pat of butter (no more than 1 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup parmesan-romano cheese
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- salt to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dried pasta and cook according to package instructions. I cook mine until "al dente," which usually takes 7-8 minutes. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid when it is done.
- As the pasta cooks, combine the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, chives, parsley and ricotta in a large bowl.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the bowl along with the pat of butter. Stir a few times to let the butter melt into everything. Add the parmesan-romano cheese and stir to combine. Add some reserved pasta cooking liquid until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- Add salt to taste and garnish with extra cheese.
• If you can't get your hands on some mint-flavored olive oil, don't panic. You could use regular olive oil instead and just add some chopped fresh mint with the other herbs. 1-2 tbsp should do the trick. Or, you could leave out the mint entirely, swap in a different flavored olive oil, or use regular olive oil and a different herb, such as basil. • adapted from Martha Stewart