fresh lemon and dill pasta, sautéed shrimp with basil and garlic

I have never met a pasta I didn’t like. In fact, my pasta preference has gotten me into some trouble as I also really like clothes… Nevertheless, my relationship with this carb has been an overall positive one and I have experimented with it greatly. In my vast catalog of experience I’ve found, I prefer the long, slurpy noodles over any of the others but in truth, like some parent with a heart of gold, I don’t have a “favorite”. I like them fresh most especially, and have made mention of our Phillips pasta machine in other pasta posts (see below for direct link to an example).

I try to only use our pasta machine(s) and not buy pre-packaged noodles. This gives me a lot of creative leeway and to control what goes in our pasta (if just to make me feel better about serving it). I love feeding different herbs directly into the noodles, it gives such an unexpected extra layer of flavor and the specks you see in each noodle shows your loved ones how much effort you really put into the meal.

When you’re married to an Italian the stakes are high. Very high. And I’m always uncomfortable with a completed pasta dish until my husband takes his first bite. I can tell when he likes something; the eyes stay closed, the mouthfeel of the food is allowed to linger longer before taking a sip of wine… almost as if nothing should be altered; it’s that good. Of course I also can’t just sit confidentially in my accomplishment. I have to blubber out questions about the dish until he calms me down with a single finger “Shhhh… This one? Is perfection.”

I can proudly say, I agree.

The link provided above shows chipotle seasoning added to the noodles, and in this case I added fresh lemon juice and dried dill to the robust hearty whole wheat flour. I made a sauce out of fresh lemon juice as well, combining basil and olive oil. The shrimp was sautéed in minced garlic and everything was topped with grated parmesan and lemon zest. It is a bright pasta dish which reads heavy with its whole wheat flour but in truth, with the fresh lemon and herbs, shrimp with garlic and basil, it springs off the plate ready for summer.

You will need:

  • Flour (we used whole wheat as it stood up to all the lemon juice the best)
  • Basil (dried or fresh)
  • Dried dill
  • Lemons (I used three medium sized)
  • Zester
  • Pasta machine (hand-crank or machine / attachment)
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Shrimp (deveined and peeled, fresh or frozen)
  • Grated parmesan

Most people use the hand-crack pasta machine. Second to that, is the attachment to the stand mixer. Lastly, the pasta machine. However you can make this pasta is fine; it will taste the same and look incredible. There are plenty of directions online as to how to make fresh pasta. A lot of people have a lot of tricks on how many eggs to use, how much flour… Ina Garten just had a show I watched with a guest Chef using 12 egg yolks in her recipe. I use one measurement of flour to one egg and water to make a pound of pasta dough. One egg. But that’s what works for me, and you need to decide your perfect pasta base. Also, the machine makes it for me and it’s fool-proof. If you haven’t decided you need this inexpensive, small footprint machine in your life, I’m here to tell you you do.

Regardless of what you use, take the dried dill herb and shake a considerable amount into the pasta dough before completely combining it… Then shake some more. You want the taste to be really pronounced and remember, it has to compete with lemon juice. Take one of your lemons and zest it. Putting the zest aside in a separate dish, cut and juice your lemon into a bowl.

Do that with two of your three lemons. Then add your last of your lemon’s juice into your pasta dough. Make sure you account for that juice in your dough recipe. If you are making fresh dough you will need to let it sit a while to soften. If not, go ahead and feed it into your machine. If using the Philips machine, you can throw the dough, dill and juice into it, then adding the egg and press a button. It combines everything together for you. After the noodles are made into whatever shape you prefer (we used a slightly larger than spaghetti but not quite fettuccine setting), set the noodles aside while you prep and cook your shrimp.

I always get shrimp frozen, I can use them later and they’re quite simple to defrost. You’ll want to put the amount you’ll be eating into a bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Leave out for just a little bit and they will start to defrost. I recommend the largest you can purchase as they shrink quite a bit while cooking. Get a sauté pan and coat the bottom with a bit of olive oil and minced garlic. I have mentioned before why I prefer minced garlic over fresh garlic in that I love that the garlic has been marinating in olive oil and is really easy to use. Feel free to mince your own at this time if you’re proficient and prefer that. Place the shrimp into the pan adding salt and pepper if you’d like, and some dried dill. Let it cook for a just a minute or two while adding your lemon juice from your two lemons and chopped fresh basil. Flip them over and season them again on the other side. When cooked, take them out and set them aside so they don’t over cook. You will reheat them later before plating by adding them to the top of the finished pasta in the pan.

Start your water to boil in a pot, remember to season liberally with salt. When it boils, put in your noodles in, making sure to gently separate them as you go. They will take just a minute or so longer than other fresh pasta you will make as you used whole wheat flour but, they will still only take about five minutes. You don’t want to overcook them, you want a bit of a bite (al dente) and you will finish them in the lemon sauce you’ve made.

Once the noodles are just a bit al dente, take them out and put them directly into the pan that has the lemon juice, olive oil, fresh basil and mined garlic. You do not want to strain the pasta as some of that starchy water will work perfectly with this dish. Add your grated parmesan to the noodles in the pan before stiring everything; the cheese sticks to the noodles better when they’re not coated in sauce.

You will smell the bright lemon mixed with parmesan and want to dive right in. Try to refrain! The juice needs to seep just a bit into the noodles and the starch will help combine everything. After stiring, go ahead and put the shrimp on top of the noodles to reheat them slightly before plating.

Add just a bit more cheese if needed, some shrimp and your lemon zest to the dish. The first thing to hit your mouth will be that fresh lemon and dill in the pasta which pairs so nicely with the shrimp. The shrimp has a perfect balance of basil and garlic. Pair with a crisp white wine – we chose Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.

Not everyone loves lemon. Not everyone loves as much lemon as this dish calls for. Feel free to remove one lemon from the list and see if you want to add more. You can always add more juice to the sauce in the pan if you think it needs it, you can’t take it out once it’s been added, however.

You probably won’t have leftovers (if you’re anything like us) but, it gets even better the longer it sits!

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