Late-Night Lemon Poppy Pasta


We had Multigrain Nutty Waffles (page 129) and bacon from Oscar’s Smokehouse.


This was the day of my demo at Lake George High School. My friend Kappy (Andrew Kaplan) requested Late-Night Lemon Poppy Pasta. On this night we did a carbonara riff on it: We “carbonara-ized” it….

Late-Night Lemon Poppy Pasta

This is the basic lemon poppy pasta. See the variation that follows for the carbonara version.


  • 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 small organic lemons
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound egg tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In a small saucepan, heat the stock with the saffron and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO (2 turns of pan) over medium heat. Add the butter and when the butter foams, add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Stir together the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest to make gremolata. Add the poppy seeds to the shallots and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Add the gremolata and stir 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add the warm saffron stock and cream and reduce while the pasta cooks.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Before draining, ladle out about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sauce and cheese, using cooking water as needed to incorporate the cheese and sauce into a thick coating on pasta. Add the lemon juice and adjust the salt and pepper.

Carbonara with Lemon and Poppy: Follow the recipe for Late-Night Lemon Poppy Pasta with these changes: Increase the EVOO to 1/4 cup and omit the butter. Brown 1/4 pound pancetta (chopped) in the EVOO. Add the shallots, poppy seeds, and gremolata as written. Add the wine and saffron stock as written, but omit the cream. Cook the pasta and just before you drain it, ladle out 1/2 to 1 cup starchy cooking water and beat it into 3 egg yolks with a fork to temper them. Stir the lemon juice into the skillet. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet along with the cheese and the tempered egg yolks.

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