This week I’m deep into a book that I may be a little embarrassed to write about here. I’m usually drawn to books that take place in another time, and I love adventures or stories that delve deep into characters. Sam says I’m a dreamer, which is a nice way of saying I like children’s books. When I started Dragon Teeth, a book I’d been waffling over checking out, I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books that you can’t stop reading, and you stay up late just trying to find out what happens. The story takes place in the West in the mid 1800s, when a group of students travels to “Indian territory” to dig up dinosaur fossils. I’ve never been so engrossed in a story.
When I can’t put down a book, I try to valiantly multitask, reading an open book over a simmering pot of something, and my novels end up looking more like cookbooks with little stains on the pages. It’s something I’ve always done. I love reading in the kitchen, and combining the two things I love most. Lucky for you, this Creamy Lemon Caper Fettuccine is multi-task friendly, and it only takes a few minutes to make. I tend to enjoy drier pastas, but this one is creamy and slicked with silky lemon caper sauce. It’s decadent, and I love to top it with something interesting like some fresh thyme and some lightly fried garlic.
Let’s get started on this recipe! In the time you cook the pasta, you’ll make the sauce quickly, so stay on your toes and try to read through the full recipe before starting.
Boil a large pasta pot with 4 quarts of heavily salted water. It should taste salty! Like the sea! Once it’s boiling, add your fettuccine and set a ten minute timer so that it cooks to al dente perfection. When there are just six minutes, left, we’ll start making our sauce.
Start by placing a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat and adding the butter to melt. Once it’s melted, add the garlic and cook for about two minutes until it softens. Next, turn down the heat to low, and add your red pepper flakes, thyme, cream, and lemon zest. Cook for about 30 seconds to warm up the cream. Add the cheese and stir it in to melt it. Once the cheese is melted, add the drained capers and stir. Give it a taste to see if it needs salt, adding a pinch at a time until it’s just right.
Once your pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of pasta water, drain it in a colander, and put it into the sauce pan. Give it a toss with some tongs. Taste for seasoning. If it needs salt, give it a few pinches. If the sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. If you’d like to, you can fry some garlic in olive oil for topping. Just drizzle olive oil into a skillet, add a couple cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and cook until the garlic is browned and crisp. Top your pasta with the garlic if desired.
- 1 lb fettuccine or other long pasta
- 5 tbsp salted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper, optional
- ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- ½ tbsp lemon juice
- kosher salt
- ¼ cup capers, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Heat 4 quarts of water in a large pot, and salt the water until briny. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
- While there are 6 minutes left on the pasta timer, add the butter to a large deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic, cooking gently for about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes if using. Turn down the heat to low and add the thyme, heavy cream, and lemon zest. Cook for 30 seconds until warmed and add the cheese, stirring. Once the cheese is melted, add the capers and taste to see if it needs salt. Add a pinch at a time until it's just right.
- Once the pasta is al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Then drain the pasta into a colander and put immediately into the sauce pan, tossing with tongs to coat evenly. Add the lemon juice and continue to toss. Remove from heat. Taste to see if it needs salt.
- Serve while hot with extra grated parmigiano reggiano and toasted garlic if you desire.
- In a skillet, add the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic cloves and cook, until they brown slightly and crisp. Remove the garlic from the oil and add to the pasta.