Pasta With Lemon, Sage, Chilli & Parmesan

This pasta recipe is a Sicilian classic. With lemon the star ingredient, the Sicilians would also use lots of olive oil – which here is switched out for butter to give the sauce a lovely velvety texture and to help it cut through the citrus flavours.
Total Time
15 Minutes
Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
40g of fine dried breadcrumbs
50g of unsalted butter
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 salted anchovy, chopped
Zest & juice of 1 large unwaxed lemon
120g of parmesan cheese, grated
1 handful of sage leaves
400g of dried spaghetti, linguine or bucatini
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Step 1
Heat a little oil in a small sauté pan and gently fry the breadcrumbs until they start to turn a light golden brown. Drain and reserve.
Step 2
Add a lug of olive oil to a medium sauté pan set over a medium heat, then add the butter. When the butter starts to bubble gently and foam (not brown), stir in the chilli, garlic and anchovy. Cook for a minute. Add the lemon zest and juice. Remove from the heat. Add the parmesan and sage and stir well. Keep warm.
Step 3
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.
Step 4
Transfer the pasta to the buttery lemon sauce along with a lug of pasta water. Return to the heat and toss the pasta with the sauce using a spoon or tongs, ensuring that all the pasta is coated and the sauce is rich and reduced. Season with a little more salt and black pepper, then serve immediately sprinkled with the breadcrumbs.

Recipe courtesy of Sicilia by Ben Tish (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26) is out now. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

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