Fettuccine with Lemon and Crème Fraîche

My friend Beth and I recently spent the day in Tel Aviv in search of amazing soups for a freelance article I was working on. In between steamy bowls of black bean, matzoh bowl, and ramen we also stopped for sushi and found an incredible cheese shop. With aged gouda, walnut brie, fresh ricotta, tangy goat cheese. The labels were in English and Hebrew and the cheese-monger, an old Tel Avivan, insisted we try everything before we buy it. It was here that I got the crème fraîche. How could I resist? It’s not exactly something I can pick up at the shuq here in Be’er Sheva.

I didn’t have a particular recipe in mind. So I searched. I had all the other ingredients I needed on hand for this one. It’s a surprising pasta dish that almost tastes like dessert rather than dinner. The large proportion of lemon zest combined with the crème fraîche tasted like a lemon curd with a surprising sweetness. But, accompanied with something savory it provides a nice foil. It’s bright and light, the creamy sauce far from heavy. I served it with chicken cooked in wine with caramelized onions and mushrooms; sauteed vegetables would be equally as good. Try mixing in sauteed spinach into the pasta. And don’t be shy with the Parmesan.

Fettuccine with Lemon and Crème Fraîche

Adapted from Epicurious.com (which they adapted from When French Women Cook)
Yield: 4 Servings

1 pound fettuccine, tagliatelle, or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest of 4 lemons
6 ounces crème fraîche
Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley

Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the lemon zest and cook over low flame for 2 minutes. Add the crème fraîche and bring to a boil; pour in the lemon juice and bring to a boil again. When the cream starts to thicken, add the Parmesan, season to taste, mix well, and cook for another minute. Fold in the parsley. Add the drained pasta and toss to mix. Serve immediately.