Listen, I am the queen of making extremely elaborate and complicated meals, in fact one of my favorite pasta dishes is a 4-hour Bolognese. However quite often nobody has time for that. This lemon caper pasta is perfect for those nights where you are short on time, but take out isn’t in the cards. I should also mention there is no chopping involved (yes for once there is no garlic in one of my recipes).
If you do have a little more time and still want a great pasta dish I highly recommend you check out the Spicy Vodka Rigatoni recipe.
You’ll be surprised to hear that although this pasta is super creamy, there is no heavy cream. The whole point of this recipe is that it can be made from ingredients that you have on hand, hello pantry pasta. Instead the creaminess comes from making a béchamel sauce. Sounds complicated, but it is just flour + butter = roux + milk = creamy sauce without heavy cream.
I am going to be honest with you, this dish is delicious and worth making but if you don’t follow the below instructions it can give you a bit of a problem. This recipe calls to add not only lemon juice, but also capers to a milk based sauce. When you add an acid into milk it will curdle. As you can imagine a curdled sauce is NOT what you want here. To avoid this from happening and reduce the amount of curdling add the lemon juice when the milk is still cold. Did your sauce curdle anyways? Don’t fret, this happened to me the first time I made it and I continued to cook the sauce down whisking it vigorously.
Make the Sauce – In a medium pan on medium-low heat melt the butter and add capers. Reserve the juice for later. Just a heads up the capers might pop here and there so stand back or wear an apron. Cook for 5 minutes crushing some of the capers. Add flour so it creates a paste and cook, stirring constantly. The paste will begin to bubble, but don’t let it brown or burn – about 3 minutes. Add milk, caper juice, and lemon juice whisking to combine the roux. You need to add all these things while the milk is still cold. Cook until reduced and thick approx. 5-7 minutes.