Preserved lemon is a versatile pantry staple with the power to level up the flavor of any dish it touches. Unlike the aggressively pungent and assertive flavor of fresh lemon rind, preserved lemons have softer, richer, and deeper flavors, mellowed by the salty bath that pickles them. While they lose some of their bracing acidity, citrusy aromas and gentle tanginess remain.
Inspired by the grilled flounder head served with a chermoula-like sauce from chef Nico Russell at Place des Fêtes restaurant in Brooklyn, New York, I paired preserved lemon with seared shrimp in this easy weeknight pasta recipe—which also features garlic, chile flakes, plenty of Parmesan, and a touch of fresh lemon juice, bringing the full spectrum of lemon flavor to the table. If you bought preserved lemons in the past and have been looking for a way to use them up, this is your moment! —Rachel Gurjar
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What you’ll need
Cook 1 lb. medium tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or penne) in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, pat 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, dry with paper towels; season lightly with kosher salt. Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped, ¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemon, and ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until preserved lemon is softened, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until just opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add pasta, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing vigorously, until butter is melted and sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup finely grated Parmesan; toss until melted. Add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and ½ cup finely grated Parmesan and cook, stirring vigorously and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce is thickened and coats pasta, about 1 minute. Mix in 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice and ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley.
Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Top with more finely grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley.
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The wife says “give it 5 stars!” Never argue with the wife. The preserved lemon provide a strong flavor without the typical lemon tartness. Surprisingly the garlic wasn’t overpowering. We had a lot of leftover pasta, so I’ll use it with either more shrimp or chicken. Next time I’ll use 1/2 lb of pasta. Using only the 1/2 lb of pasta will also make the sauce more noticeable. The sauce is very good but spread out over too much pasta
Simple, quick recipe with great flavor! I roasted some cauliflower and added it at the very end to round out the meal. The recipe took me 35 minutes from start to finish (includes deveining shrimp) which is awesome for busy weeknights. I think the sauce is better suited for spaghetti or bucatini, so I’ll be using that next time. I also want to try using mint instead of parsley and maybe adding pine nuts on top.
Fine. Won't make again. Kinda boring.
stolen Catawba land
Because we all have preserved lemons on hand? Seriously!
Very good flavor. Next time I top it with some more preserved lemon. Used only half amount of pasta. Will make again
Would you suggest anything other than vegan butter for a dairy allergy?
Delicious! We make pasta with shrimp often, but this was our first time using preserved lemons in a recipe, wow, top favorite, and gave us the confidence to try preserved lemons in more dishes - thank you!
Rich & Cindy K.
Oak Harbor, Wa
We're trying this tonight...but wondering about the 1lb of pasta...isn't that 8 servings of pasta...56 grams per serving? Don't get me wrong...we love heaping portions!
Oak Harbor, Wa