Shout out to Carla Hall for her lemon oil technique. To infuse oil, I’ve always added heat then cooled and stored to intensify flavor. Carla’s method using the whole lemon is easy and a perfect addition to an old favorite in my family, lemon spaghetti. My mom is gonna flip for this dish!
- 1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and very thinly sliced
- About 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or ramps/wild leeks (when in season)
- 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio wine
- 1 pound spaghetti or lemon spaghetti, available at Italian markets
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn or shredded
- 1/4 cup tarragon, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons mint, chopped
- Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, to pass
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Place a large skillet on the stovetop and add olive oil, 8 turns of the pan. Add sliced garlic in a single layer and heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic until golden and crispy; remove with slotted spoon. Cool the garlic oil back to room temperature and add it and the reserved garlic to a high-powered blender or food processor. Add lemon and a fat pinch of salt. Process, strain and reserve.
Season pasta water with salt and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup starchy water just before draining.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat until it foams. Add the shallots or ramps, salt and pepper, and stir a minute. Add wine and reduce by half, add garlic-lemon oil, chili flakes and just heat through—do not boil. Remove from heat.
Toss drained pasta with the sauce and some of the starchy water. Scatter in most of your herbs, adjust seasoning to taste and serve in shallow bowls topped with crispy golden garlic chips, remaining herbs and some cheese.