Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seduction by Lemons

"I don't have blood in my veins, I have lemon juice" - says Luigi, 77 years old.

The owner of 5 % of the town of Amalfi, he says. And when you look up at Amalfi from your sailboat in the ocean, you glance up at a "green eye" in the middle of architecture clustures which grow up the mountain side. That lush-lemony patch is Luigis, along with thousands of other trees beyond the city center. Just a 15 minute walk up the one road of Amalfi.

"When I am in the Lemon grove, I feel like someone" he says with his crooked smile. His large, dirt-crusted hands graze over the lemon trees and tenderly clean the dead leaves away. Luigi is number 8 from a family of 13. He tells us stories of growing up in the lemon grove. His family lived in one room together, and when his parents wanted some time alone they would get lost in the lemon trees. "Sono stato concepito nel limoneto!" - I was conceived in the lemon grove! Followed by an infectious laugh and crooked smile.

He tells us of the unique Amalfi micro-climate and it's perfection for the life of lemons....
"When the winds come from the north and meet with the winds from the south, with the protection of the neighboring mountains in the valley, the winds make sweet love and create the perfect climate for lemons"
...Wind sex and lemon babies- Now If THAT isn't passionate then I don't know what is!

-Spaghetti a Limone-
1 1/2 packs of Spaghetti
1 Large Shallot- finely chopped
3T butter
3/4 c cream
4 L lemons- juiced
The zest of 1 lemon cut off in thick strips
The zest of one lemon grated fine
1/4 c grated parmigiano

Place the thick strips of lemon zest in the boiling salted pasta water. Like a strong tea, let the pasta water become infused with lemon essence. Cook pasta till just al dente, no longer. Reserving pasta water.
Saute shallot in butter, in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add cream and lemon juice and reduce. Add hot al dente pasta, fine lemon zest, and grated cheese. Thin the pasta and sauce out with pasta water, until it is your desired consistency. Finish with chopped parsley and fresh cracked pepper

Note: This recipe serves 8 as a main course, and is best made with lemon offspring from wind relations off the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Just sayin'...

In my first experience of Amalfi, I can honestly say that the citrus there is unlike any I have had before. As a California native, I have never experienced a shortage of tasty lemons in my life. The sight alone of a meyer lemon can easily take my breathe away. From my first Amalfi gelato limone, tangy and sweet (and best enjoyed with your eyes closed.) To the lovable, sip-able, marry-able (!) limoncello and everything with essence, zest, slices, and juice in between. I found myself trying to find balance in my being with the sway of sea legs bellow me, and at the same time allowing myself to dizzily float away in an Italian cloud of lemony love.

Currently hibernating in a Florentine nest above Santa Croce. Writing menus, drinking black tea with rose petals in a silk robe, and practicing yoga on a Moroccan rug.... the love and light of life in Italy. x -A

1 comment:

  1. I have a new appreciation for lemons and I am in love with Luigi. Going to try the recipe tonight, though dare I say, I wish I was sitting along the Amalfi coast looking out at the Mediterranean Sea twirling my fork with Pasta a Limone, while I sit under a lemon tree. The images you create for us! Grazie! Baci e abbracci.