I’m doing what I do best in this one folks! That’s right, improving overrated recipes from the internet.
I’ll be improving the creamy meyer lemon pasta from NYT Cooking. When I saw this post on their Instagram, I was intrigued. They use whole meyer lemons in the recipe. I love me a meyer lemon. Think of it as a slightly orangier lemon. This recipe uses the whole dang thing and 3 of them at that!
A quick side-by-side comparison proves how I improved the recipe. Not only did I add a crispy panko breadcrumb topping infused with more meyer lemon zest, but the NYT version looks like it has raw lemon pieces, straight up! It wasn’t the picture that intrigued me so much as the concept. I decided it would be a better technique to char the lemon pieces in a cast iron pan before adding any other ingredients like garlic and vegan butter.
I also opted for bucatini pasta, rather than linguine. It was a good choice! The NYT recipe also called for ground fennel seeds. Yuck! That’s a bit of a strong flavor that makes no sense to me. So I used ground dill seed to compliment the loads of fresh dill you’ll add in at the end. If you decide to add peas make sure you add them at the end when you toss the pasta in the cream sauce. This will ensure that you don’t overcook them like I did in the video.
creamy vegan meyer lemon dill pasta
- 1 C panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- zest of 1 meyer lemon
creamy meyer lemon dill pasta
- 3 small meyer lemons
- ½ C raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes.
- 1 C fresh water
- 250 g bucatini
- 1 ½ C frozen or fresh peas (optional)
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dill seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 C reserved pasta water
- ¼ C packed dill leaves and tender stems, finely chopped plus more for garnish
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
To make the breadcrumb topping, in a nonstick pan over medium heat melt the butter. Once melted stir in breadcrumbs and coat in the butter, letting them toast for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pan into a bowl and add meyer lemon zest, stir to combine, and set aside while you make the pasta.
Prepare the meyer lemons by scrubbing them well. Trim the tops and bottoms off the meyer lemons and reserve them for squeezing on the finished servings. Slice the remainder of the lemons into ¼-inch discs, discard any seeds, then very roughly chop into small pebbly pieces.
- Drain the cashews from the soaking water and add to a high-powered blender with fresh water. Blend until very very smooth and no pieces of cashews are visible.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook bucatini. Generously salt the water once boiling and add the pasta. In the last minute of cooking add the peas if including them. Cook pasta to al dente. Reserve pasta water before draining. Do not rinse the pasta and peas.
Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the meyer lemon pieces in an even layer and do not toss for about 4 to 5 minutes. Allow the pieces to get charred and caramelized. Then toss and cook on the other sides for 2 to 3 minutes or until the lemons are looking evenly caramelized. Lower heat to medium and add vegan butter and toss around to coat the lemons as the butter melts, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and ground dill, and cook another minute. Lower heat as necessary to prevent garlic from burning. Then over medium-low heat add in the cashew cream and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until slightly thicker.
By now you should have drained pasta and peas. Add half the reserved pasta water and all the pasta. Toss to coat well, and add more pasta water as needed to make a smooth silky sauce. Stir in the fresh dill and sea salt and ground pepper to taste just before serving. Add more fresh dill and ground pepper as garnish. Add bread crumbs to each serving and add more as you eat the pasta so you get crispiness throughout!