I made some delightfully garlicky Roasted Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes for Christmas and had some leftovers. Not just Christmas dinner leftovers but also a few ingredients like mascarpone cheese. I hate to waste food, so I went on a mission to find recipes for my leftover ingredients. This Fettuccine with Lemon Mascarpone Sauce stood out because of its simplicity. I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the mood to cook anything complicated after all the cooking I did over the holidays.
The mascarpone melts and blends magically with the lemon. A bit of lemon zest and the oils are released in the butter, transcending into this perfect cream.
This recipe has just five ingredients—four if you lump together the lemon juice and zest. I had mascarpone cheese and butter on hand as well as a package of spaghetti but no fettuccine. I like to stay true to the recipe the first time I make it, so that meant I had some shopping to do. Fettuccine and lemons were just a quick shopping trip away at my usual grocery store.
This recipe was wonderfully easy to make. The bulk of the work was cooking the fettuccine. One pound (16 ounces) is a lot of fettuccine, so I cooked it in my 5.5-quart Dutch oven. It was wide enough that I didn’t have to break the noodles and deep enough for me to stir them to prevent sticking.
Tip: Don’t forget to salt your pasta water. I use 1 tablespoon of sea salt per 4 quarts of water.
The water took a while to boil, but once it did it took 9 minutes for the noodles to cook to al dente. It used to be hard for me to remember to reserve pasta water, so I had to get strategic.
Tip: To keep myself from accidentally discarding the pasta water, I nest a colander inside a large metal mixing bowl and place both into my sink. When the pasta is ready, I don a pair of oven gloves to protect me from the steam. Next, I pour the water into the nested colander, then lift it out and set it aside to drain. I scoop out however much pasta water I need and discard the rest.
Once the linguine was drained, I returned it to the pan and added the butter, lemon juice, mascarpone cheese, and half the lemon zest. I wasn’t sure, but re-reading the instructions sounds like I should have only added half the mascarpone and adjusted it and the lemon zest.
I was almost happy with the consistency and added about 1/4 cup of the pasta water to get it just right. The warmth of the pasta and the pan helped melt the butter and cheese quickly so both easily mixed in.
This wasn’t a saucy dish, but the pasta was far from dry. Adding a little more lemon zest at the table worked for me, but hubby thought it was lemony enough right out of the pan. I served it with Chicken Breasts With Fresh Sage and steamed broccoli.
This recipe lists 5 minutes of prep time, 15 minutes of cooking time, and a total time of 20 minutes. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 21 minutes to cook and drain the pasta
- 4 minutes to add in the remaining ingredients and mix
- 25 minutes total
Twelve minutes of the pasta’s time was filling the pot and waiting for it to come to a boil. I’m sure that’s the reason I went a little over the total time listed. That’s more of my stove’s fault, not the recipe’s.