Pasta with Fried Lemons and Chile Flakes

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This is without a doubt my favorite recipe we created or resurfaced for our citrus event. There is so much flavor in a dish that seems light, but warming and satisfying at the same time. I have cooked it two more times since the first time I tested the recipe! Great on it’s own or add a bit of shredded rotisserie chicken for some added protein.

4 lemons
1 lb. linguini or spaghetti
4 Tbsps Central Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more
Pinch of sugar
3 Tbsps Central Market Unsalted Butter
3/4 tsp chile flakes, more to taste
2/3 Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more to taste
Black pepper, as needed
1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt for garnish
Lemon agrumato oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Finely zest 2 lemons and set aside. Trim the tops and bottoms off the other 2 lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters. Remove the seeds. Thinly slice the quarters into triangles. Blanch the lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a dish towel. Blot dry.

3. In the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta-cooking water.
4. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over high heat. Add the dried lemon pieces and season with a pinch each of salt and sugar. Cook until the lemons are caramelized and browned at the edges, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

5. Melt the butter with remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the chile flakes and zest of both lemons; cook until fragrant. Whisk in the reserved pasta water.
6. Add in the pasta, juice of 1 lemon, cheese, pepper, and the remaining salt. Cook until the pasta is well-coated with the sauce. Add the caramelized lemons, celery leaves, and parsley. Taste and add lemon juice if needed.

7. Serve with a drizzle of lemon agrumato oil, more cheese if you like, and a sprinkle of sea salt.