One of the most mouth-watering dishes we’ve enjoyed in Italy was prepared for us by our friend and host, Vern Willey, formerly of Hartford and now a resident of glorious Treviso.
Pasta limone, as Vern calls it, was first served to him by neighbors in Positano, when Vern was stationed there decades ago with the U.S. Coast Guard. It seems Vern took it upon himself to write a letter from Italy to the commandant in Washington, explaining why it would improve relations between our two countries if Vern could receive permission to live off base in a tiny apartment in the village of Positano. Slapping his thigh, Vern chortled, “They said, ‘Good idea!’ ”
The studio he found was the size of a small closet since the Coast Guard’s stipend was minuscule. Luckily that closet was well positioned.
Everyone loves Vern, as I witnessed on our daily rounds in Treviso, so it’s no surprise that he was adopted immediately by a Positano family who cooked for him regularly in their tiny apartment upstairs. (They are still dear friends today, and Vern now cooks one of their remarkable dishes frequently for his partner and guests. Lucky us, and now lucky you!)
This lemon pasta recipe couldn’t be simpler, and it’s fall-down fabulous, combing Parmigiano-Reggiano and the juice and zest of lemons. (The toasted pine nuts were added by Faith the second time we made it in Treviso, with Vern’s full approval.)
Enjoy this dish with dry white wines, especially a well-chilled Prosecco or Pinot grigio.