Uncle Robin’s Perfectly Perfect Impatient Pasta

I’ve started to notice that the men on the mother’s side of my family have invented some pretty genius recipes that are super fast and easy. Maybe my impatient foodie genes come from them? I mean, look, first there was grandfather’s spaghetti dish invention and now here is my Uncle Robin’s pasta made with just 3 main ingredients: Lemon, olive oil, and butter. I know it seems like a strange flavor combination that wouldn’t really work, but I promise that it does. One of my favorite things about this recipe was the email that I got from my uncle to explain the steps. To give you a little context, I would say that Robin is The Perfectionist (capitalization intended) of the family. A tendency toward perfectionism is something that I share, but simultaneously something have zero patience for (BTW, this story made me SO HAPPY).  Uncle Robin is very precise, and very detail oriented. He’s one of those guys who can paint Trompe L’Oeil murals and rooms. Stuff like this:[peekaboo_content]



His apartment in Paris was a testament to the elegance of perfectionism and ultimate attention to detail: Every single wall in the house was painted in the straightest, most evenly spaced lines that I have ever seen. Did I mention he did it all  by hand himself? What I love about Robin’s email is how specific it is — Very clear and precise directions and steps. Very ordered. Very Robin.  Here is a translation from Italian:

Hi Elettra,

To make my pasta you can make it either with lemon or orange, but not with both together. The better one is the lemon, above all in the summer time. You should use linguine, but if you can’t find them, spaghetti will work well too. Be sure you grate the entire lemon in a small cup with olive oil. My advice is to that the zest of the lemon is sufficient to give a fresh taste to the pasta. But, if you find that the flavor is not strong enough, you can also throw in a little bit of the lemon juice. When the pasta is cooked (AL DENTE, OF COURSE!) and strained, you have to mix it with the lemon zest and olive oil, and a little bit of butter (to make it just a little bit creamy). You could also put in a little bit of cream. Then, put in a little bit of minced parsley and some pepper. Don’t EVER put parmigano, it does not work well with the lemon flavor!

There you go – a plate of pasta that is fresh and delicious.



Uncle Robin's Perfectly Perfect Impatient Pasta


PARSLEY, optional


  1. Put pasta to boil in very salty water (the water should taste as salty as the sea!)
  2. While pasta is cooking, add your olive oil to cup or small bowl and then grate in the zest of one lemon.
  3. Taste the olive oil and lemon zest mix, if you don’t think the flavor is strong enough, add a little bit of the lemon juice. Do this a little bit at a time because the flavor can quickly become over powering.
  4. When the pasta is al dente, strain it and immediately mix it together with olive oil and lemon mix, plus your butter. Toss until well combined and butter is completely melted.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste & parsley, if desired.

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