Domestic Goddess: Sophia Loren & Spaghetti al Limone

“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

Spaghetti al Limone

I’m back in New York but I seem to be having bit of an Italian moment.

Last week I unexpectedly found myself at Babbo (Mario Batali’s West Village flagship), and stuffed myself with unforgettable beet tartare, squid ink spaghetti, branzino and glorious lamb chops. Thanks to my dear friend Mark Seliger, with whom I was dining, I even got to meet Mario himself!

Then by a stroke of luck, on Saturday I came upon Sophia Loren’s 1971 cookbook, In the Kitchen with Love. To say that I’m inspired by the photographs is a vast understatement. Loren of course is lovely to look at, but the combination of her poise, sensuality and adoration of food as demonstrated by the traditional recipes is totally in keeping with my most elaborate domestic fantasies.

Her recipes, many of which are simple foils to her exotic beauty and classical poses, reflect an innate appreciation of food, as does her exquisitely feminine figure. Even if she’s wearing a headscarf and tending to the barbeque, she doesn’t quite manage the “girl next door” persona; she looks much more appropriate sitting on a table stacked with medallions of pheasant mortadella (?!) stroking two stuffed birds and looking into the middle distance.

Here is my adaptation on Loren’s simple recipe for Spaghetti al Limone, which promises to be a sultry summer delight with plenty of zest…much like the beauty herself.

Spaghetti Al Limone

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Suprême and zest of 1 lemon
½ cup heavy cream
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or more to taste
Fresh basil
250 grams spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese or Romano

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt (remember: the water should be as salty as the Mediterranean!!) Cook the pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden then add the lemon suprêmes, zest, nutmeg and cream. Let the cream simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta is finished cooking drain it, reserving one cup of pasta water. Add the pasta to the saucepan and mix to distribute the sauce. Pour in a bit of the reserved pasta water to moisten if necessary. Add basil chifonade and toss well; remove from heat and serve, adding the Parmigiano or Romano to taste.

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13 Responses to “Domestic Goddess: Sophia Loren & Spaghetti al Limone”

  1. sam g says:

    what a stunning collection of Sofia Loren photos….oh, and the pasta sounds yummy, too…

  2. Kate says:

    just made this for dinner tonight and it was totally delicious – and able to be bought for and cooked after work. I looked nothing like Sophia Loren in the process of cooking or shopping but, well, at least we’ll have paste Al Limone in common.

  3. Indah Huberman says:

    Bravo T, Thank you for posting this recipe. I’m so excited to make this tonight, it is perfect for Bali… hot days balmy nights. I’ll probably use a tad less creme and more lemon. My boys would love it! xo

  4. George says:

    these photos are to die for!

  5. Sally Branson Lynch says:

    Mmmmmm- sounds wonderful and so do-able. I especially love the photo of Ms. Loren in jeans & head scarf. I will def. make this recipe.
    Thank you- once again- for a lovely and well written piece.

  6. Tarajia says:

    “everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” -Sophia Loren

  7. Brook Mills says:

    If I eat Spaghetti al Limone will my figure be more Sophia-like?

  8. Colleen says:

    And I will try so hard to look as fabulous as Sophia while i’m at it!

  9. Melissa Millay says:

    Best blog ever. I would become a Master Chef if I could look like Sophia Loren in the kitchen! Short of this, I’m going to try the Spaghetti Al Limone tonight. It sounds delicious!

    Keep on blogging… more, more, more!

  10. Colleen says:

    I can’t wait to try this!!!

  11. Bronson Moorehead says:

    Just to fan the flames of your Italian obsession. I know it worked for me…

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