Looking for a quick straight-from-the-pantry dinner with a wow factor? This vibrant pasta dish comes together in under a half hour, is bursting with zippy lemony goodness (hello, caramelized lemons!) and is oh so satisfying. Keep a couple bags of Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta on hand, plus Masseria Mirogallo artichokes and IASA hot peppers, and you'll be ready to entertain with ease any night of the week.
Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy
To prepare the lemons, quarter the lemons lengthwise. Remove the seeds and thinly slice each quarter crosswise into triangles, about 1/8-inch thick. Arrange in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside (the paper towels will soak up any excess juice and make the lemons easier to caramelize).
Bring a large pot of abundantly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti, reduce the heat to medium high and cook until al dente, about 9-10 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and let heat for another 30 seconds. Add the reserved lemon slices arranging them in a single layer and let cook, untouched, until they start to turn golden brown and caramelize. Gently stir the lemons and move them to one side of the skillet.
Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the empty side of the skillet. Add the garlic to the olive oil and sauté until just turning light golden, about 30-45 seconds. Add the artichokes and the hot peppers, stir to combine, reduce heat to low and keep warm until the pasta is cooked.
When the spaghetti is al dente, reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water and drain. Increase the heat to medium high under the lemon and artichoke mixture, add the pasta and a cup of the pasta cooking water. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and gradually add the Pecorino Romano cheese, stirring constantly, until a creamy sauce starts to form (if the sauce looks too thick, add more of the pasta cooking water 1/4 cup at a time). Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped mint. Taste and add salt and black pepper, as necessary.
To serve, transfer the finished pasta to a serving bowl or individual bowls and finish with an additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of cheese.