Spaghetti dishes are often our go-to meals, especially if we’re a bit short on time. Current favourite is just flash frying, in olive oil, chilli flakes and garlic and mixing through spaghetti, and sprinkling with parmesan. Done in less than 10 minutes. But recently, on one of my favourite Twitter accounts – Beauty From Italy – I spotted this alternative and had to give it a go.

Spaghetti Al Limone

On first reading, this recipe looks easy-peasy but  you do need to set a little bit of time aside for prepping and it’s also not a one pan meal. But, go for it – it’s absolutely deliciously decadent. And, surprisingly, when you taste it, not a drop of cream in sight. The recipe below will serve four, but we couldn’t find our scales so we guesstimated and it all worked out OK, so we think you don’t need to fret over quantities too much.

* about 400g dried spaghetti
* 2 organic small/medium lemons – we used a mahoosive lemon & the end result was very “lemony” so maybe go for small ones if you don’t want it too tart
* 160g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
* 80g finely grated parmesan cheese – no weighing out of parmesan in this house so think we’d have used way beyond 80g. You can’t restrict your use of fresh parmesan…
* freshly cracked pepper
* extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Bring a large salted pot of water to the boil. While it is boiling prepare your other ingredients; squeeze the lemons and keep the lemon halves to one side; finely grate the cheese and set aside; chop the butter. Cook your spaghetti, then transfer it, using tongs, to a second pan – liberally splash in the water it’s been cooking in. Then add the chopped butter and lemon juice and stir until it becomes very creamy. At this stage add in the parmesan and stir. And, it’s ready.

Pile onto warmed bowls, sprinkle with a bit more parmesan – because why wouldn’t you? – and black pepper. Keep your halves of lemon handy in case you need a bit more zest to squeeze over. And, enjoy…