This Dinner Will Get You Laid – linguini with lemon and crème fraiche – the antidote to hotheadedness

Linguine Fork with lemon

It’s been a roasting hot sticky week in New York City. The kind of weather that makes people sleepy, then stupid as night falls and the temperature drops to merely baking.

Jon and I went for a late night walk that took us into the chaos of the East Village round about midnight. People were out in droves, spilling onto the sidewalks outside pizza restaurants, waiting in line at gourmet ice cream trucks, huddled round the doors of bars trying to persuade bouncers to let them into the air conditioning.

2 beautiful police horses stood looking laconically into a dive bar. The cops riding them, chatting to each other, were seemingly oblivious to a scuffle that was going on just feet away. Two men, caught somewhere between mutual headlocks and general pummeling.

“Stupid to fight right in front of the cops,” Jon noted.

But it turned out, that was really the whole point.

“Calm down man!”

“Let me go, I gotta try this! I gotta get it!”

“Dude, no! Seriously. When you’re as rich as Bloomberg you can buy your own police horse.”

Bearing this in mind, it might be worth eating in on the balcony until the weather breaks.

Linguini with crème fraiche and lemon

Slice of lemon illustration for linguine½ packet of linguini
1 medium onion
1 fat clove of garlic
½ cup white wine or vermouth
1 lemon
3 tbsp crème fraiche (or ½ cup cream)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil
  • While you wait, dice up the onion and fry gently in some olive oil for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften
  •  Salt the now hopefully boiling water – really salt it, don’t hold back – and tip in the linguini. Set a timer for 1 minute less than the packet instructions
  • Back to the onion pan. Grate or finely chop the garlic and add, tossing in the hot oil, and being careful not to let it burn and taste bitter
  • Pour the wine in and scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Let this bubble and reduce by half
  • Zest the lemon, then squeeze 2 – 3 tbsp of juice in along with the wine
  • Once you have about ¼ cup liquid in the pan, add the crème fraiche, the lemon zest and the Parmesan. Let everything cook and thicken. Season well with pepper
  • Once the pasta timer pings, drain the linguini (not too well – a bit of water will help the sauce), then add to the sauce and cook for half a minute so that the pasta is still al dente. Check the seasoning – you may want to add more salt
  • Serve with a simple salad of arugula (rocket) dressed with olive oil, salt and fresh lemon juice

If You Can Make That You Can Make This

  • Add a handful of peas to the sauce pan along with the pasta and let them cook in the residual heat
  • Or add some asparagus tips to the boiling pasta about 1 minute before the timer is set to go off
  • Stir in some deli counter artichoke hearts
  • Add a few handfuls of arugula (rocket) to the hot pasta and stir to wilt into the sauce
  • Slice over some fresh scallions or chives
  • Leave out the lemon, and melt in 1/4 cup gorgonzola
  • Add a handful of walnuts, or top with some toasted pinenuts.
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