This might be the most luxurious-feeling dinner you can conjure from near-thin air. It takes something like 15 minutes and three ingredients (no, not counting salt and pepper—you have those), and it sparkles in just about any situation you can hurl its way. It’s good for a dinner party, good for making the masses at the table happy, good for when you’re feeling off-kilter and need righting. It’s just good.
Adapted slightly from the New York Times (March 10, 1999). —Genius Recipes
Zest and juice of 2 lemons; zest removed with a vegetable peeler and cut in very thin strips 1 inch long (see note)
Kosher salt, to taste
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and stir to separate. Cook for 8 minutes, or until just barely tender (the noodles will cook a bit more in step 3, and you don't want mush). Drain, then return to the cooking pot.
Just before noodles are done, in a small saucepan combine the lemon zest, cream, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until cream comes to a boil.
Pour cream mixture over drained noodles, and add the lemon juice (you may want to start with 3 to 4 tablespoons and add to taste). Stir to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with additional pepper, if desired.
Note about lemon zest: Alternately, you can grate on a Microplane. The flavor will be a bit stronger as more flavorful oils are released this way, and you won't get the texture of the hand-sliced version. Dealer's choice!