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Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon

Disclaimer: I am a marketing intern at Diablo Magazine, a regional life style magazine for the East Bay region of California. These recipes come from chefs that have won food awards through Diablo Magazine, but the chefs have no idea who I am or that this blog exists. They haven’t offered me any free meals or whatnot for favorable reviews. Oh, and the intern thing? It’s unpaid so I’m reaaaally not being paid for this. All opinions expressed below are my own.

To those that have lived with me or know me very well, know that I’m horrifically addicted to citrus flavors, specifically lemons and oranges.  If lemons weren’t terrible for your teeth, I’d eat them like an orange.

But I digress. This is another recipe in my series of recipe testing for Diablo Magazine. This lovely, lemony pasta comes from Incontro from San Ramon, who is also received one of Diablo’s seven Food Awards this year.

Not only is this dish now my all time favorite pasta dish, which is saying something as I eat pasta way too often, but it’s also incredibly fast to put together. It tastes like it would be a very involved dish, but no, it totally fits into a 15 minute meal, so while its lush and decadent, it can totally be a meal that you make after long busy day.

The longest part of this recipe is boiling the water. I realize this phrase is used all the time to state how quickly the dish comes together, but in the case that is the only real wait time.

Incontro called for fresh angel hair pasta, I was hungry and didn’t have any fresh angel hair pasta and I didn’t feel like going out to get any. I used dried thin spaghetti.  If you do go the fresh route, start melting the butter as soon as the water comes to a boil and add the cream right when you put the pasta in. Since fresh pasta cooks in about 1-2 minutes your sauce will be done by time you’re ready to drain the pasta. Just mix the pasta with the sauce, squeeze some lemon juice over the serving and serve.

Why thin spaghetti you ask? I was sharing this dish my father who is kind of guy who likes spaghetti with Ragu. If he’s feeling swanky he’ll cook up some ground beef, onions and mushrooms to mix in to the sauce but that’s as swanky as he gets. Nothing wrong with this, of course.

But to compromise about the thinness of the pasta and the swankiness of the sauce, I opted for thin spaghetti, which is thicker than angel hair but not as thick as spaghetti. Life, my friends, is all about compromise.

The sauce is half butter, half cream.

WAIT, don’t run!

It’s delicious and it isn’t heavy in the slightest.  With the juice of half a lemon and the zest of a whole lemon, the sauce remains refreshingly light.

The recipe does actually call for “double cream” which has a very high butterfat content somewhere in the neighborhood of 48% and is very common in Europe. On this side of the pond, however, cream with that much butterfat is hard to find. I’ve found it in a product called “Manufacture’s  Cream”  which I found at my local Smart and Final. But that is sold in half gallon quantities.  So I used heavy cream which is silky and luxurious enough for me.

If you’re still worried about the heaviness of the heavy cream and butter combined, opt for whole milk. It won’t be as rich, but it will still be delicious.

Whatever you do, DON’T FORGET TO SALT THE SAUCE. Lord have mercy, if you ever want to taste the power of salt to add depth, without an overwhelmingly salty taste, try the sauce before adding the salt then try it again after salting it. It brings out all the flavor in the cream and the butter and adds so much depth you’ll be shocked.

But remember it’s only 3 tablespoons of both butter and heavy cream (with a half cup of lemon juice) for an entire pound of pasta. So it gets spread out.

If you’re one of those people who can’t stand winter because it’s cold, dreary, and wet, I’d keep this dish in rotation. Every time you take a bite, it’ll be like Springtime that much earlier.

When I make it out to Incontro, I’m ordering this pasta to try their version!

In case you were wondering how my father liked it, he went back for seconds and declared it delicious. So if you have only marinara loving people in your family, hopefully they have the same reaction.

Cappelli D’angelo al Limone courtesy of Incontro’s Gianni Bartoletti
(Angel Hair with Lemon)
(Serves 4)
Note: This recipe has been republished exactly as it was given to me by Mr. Bartoletti.
20z. (50g) unsalted butter (if you don’t have a scale, this is about 3 tablespoons)
3 tbls. double cream, with a little milk if necessary
Finely grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 lb. (450g) fresh Capelli d’angelo
2 oz. (50g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of Parsley

Gently melt the butter and then, over very low heat, stir in the cream and the lemon rind.
In a seperate pan cook the pasta for just under 1 minute or until al dente then drain, and add it to the sauce. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and distribute on a warm plate.
Garnish each serving with a sprig of parsley.


To quickly remove strong odors from your hands such as, onions, garlic, fish, etc … take a little baking soda and warm water and gently wash your hands.

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