Q: I am in desperate need of a simple recipe now that the decadent holiday leftovers are finally finished! Any suggestions?


A: Even with a barren fridge, I can rely on this six-ingredient recipe to get my family back on track, and back to the basics. Try a light and simple linguine with lemon to counteract a long month of indulgent holiday meals.

While I typically use dried linguine in this recipe, any pasta on hand will prove just as dreamy. And if you have fresh or frozen pasta in your post-holiday kitchen carnage, all the more power to you! Quality extra-virgin olive oil is essential in this dish, as there are so few ingredients.

Although the varieties of pasta and oil can be substituted, I find that a Meyer or Sorrento lemon is key. The Meyer lemon — a cross between an orange and a lemon — is a relatively new import from China. Desirable because it’s sweeter than other varieties of this citrus fruit, Meyer lemon adds a slightly floral flavor and fragrant oil that bring all of these ingredients together harmoniously.

With its fragrant, medium-thick peel and fleshy inside, the Sorrento lemon is another top qualifier. This variety remains one of the richest lemons in ascorbic acid and subsequently often is incorporated as the acidic component in savory dishes. The peel contains such culinary gold that in the early 20th century Sorrento lemons were sold individually and could be handled only by women adorned with trimmed nails and cotton gloves. Today that is clearly less the case, as Sorrentos are the most widely used lemons for fresh consumption in Italy.

If any fresh herbs have survived the holidays, throw them on top of this dish to add a hint of color. Parsley and lemon are always a nice pairing, but almost any fresh herb complements the citrus.

This linguine with lemon pasta embodies everything I love about Italian cooking. It’s clean, it’s simple and it leaves your appetite remarkably satisfied. Enjoy.