These days it is unusual to see historic buildings being used day to day just as they were originally designed. However, one place is a notable exception. It is the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans.
It's the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley, dating back to 1745 when the area was under French rule. At that time the convent boasted an extensive herb and vegetable garden. And it still does today thanks to Horst Pfeifer, the convent's energetic chef. He tends the herbs in the garden by day and dazzles patrons of his restaurant, Bella Luna, by night. Horst was kind enough to share this recipe for lemon fettuccine. It is easy to prepare and a wonderful entree for early spring get togethers.
Bring salted water to a vigorous boil in a seven-quart stockpot and drop in the fettuccine; stir until all the noodles are separated. Boil the noodles for approximately one minute depending on the type of fettuccine and drain loosely, leaving a little water on the noodles and reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
Place the pasta in a large bowl.
Add to the bowl the butter, parsley and zest of 12 lemons and mix well with a fork and spoon.
Stir in the cheese and mix well to avoid lumping.
Pour in the 1/4 cup of pasta water and mix thoroughly until the mixture is loose and creamy. The trick here is to add the water a little at a time until the proper smooth consistency is reached. Successful fettuccine is the correct consistency - it should not be watery or too dry.
Recipe provided by Horst Pfeifer.
Time to prepare: 30 minutes.