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Pasta al Limone with Fried Oregano and Capers

Pasta al Limone with Fried Oregano and Capers

I think, for most people, a fancy-sounding Italian pasta dish like this one is something they’d only ever order from a restaurant. I also think most home cooks tend to always treat their pasta in two ways: covered in a heavy, meaty tomato sauce, or a creamy, cheesy one. While I LOVE those kinds of dishes, pasta can also be light, bright, and perfect for a quick dinner on a warm summer night. Hello, Pasta al Limone! It’s a classic Italian dish and always includes a few essential things: a long pasta, like spaghetti, lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. The sauce is bright, salty, and lemony, and is easy to emulsify thanks to the all starch from the pasta and pasta water. I’ve added a few extra ingredients (that all happen to be fried! 🙂 ), and I think they make this classic even better: capers for briny, umami flavor, oregano for an herbal note that perfumes the entire sauce, and breadcrumbs that get perfectly golden and crunchy in a little olive oil.

1. Emulsification

Emulsification is the process by which two liquids that usually wouldn’t mix together are combined into one, homogeneous mixture. In this case, we’re combining the lemon juice and the olive oil, and you’ll see tips and tricks in the recipe to help retain lots of pasta starch since it’s the secret ingredient for good emulsification!

2. Frying Capers and Oregano?

Frying these ingredients, especially the oregano, may seem odd at first, but frying does two important things: it helps the flavors of both ingredients bloom, which means the heat of the oil brings out and intensifies their flavors. It also makes them crispy, which adds great texture to the final dish!

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3. History of the Dish

Like many traditional dishes, Pasta al Limone is a reflection of the local produce in the region where it was created. It’s hard to credit any one place exactly, but most sources agree that this dish is from the Almafi coast and surrounding towns, where lemons are abundant and so they’re used in many applications, from Limoncello to Pasta al Limone!

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