Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs, Peppers & Lemon

My daughter said: “I can’t remember winter". Surrounded by New England in full bloom―deep green branches mixed in with crisp white & all-manner-of pinks & purple blossoms hung down along the roadside—we made our way home for dinner. The sun was just getting ready to set, so there was still a golden glow lingering and lighting everything up with its warmth. Isabel couldn’t remember the winter we thought would never end―we had record cold and snow. Illness and depression invaded our household. We thought it would never end, but it did. And now, we are dazzled by the light of optimism that defines spring.

She can’t remember winter, and I can’t remember a spring quite as glorious this one. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been more ready to move into a period of growth and change. With our son beginning his summer job, our daughter learning how speedy her long legs can be running spring track, my husband polishing up a new story―I can’t help but feel the pleasure of our creativity finally being let loose amongst the leaves and the blossoms. With everything changing and coming alive so quickly, the urge is not to miss a moment. The energy is radiant. I won’t miss a thing.

This dish of Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs, Peppers & Lemon mirrors the season. Warm pasta is tossed with an abundance of fresh green herbs, golden lemon zest and sweet peppers to form a dish that is both beautiful and delicious. Quick to prepare and requiring only a few ingredients, it’s the perfect supper after a day out in the garden or coming home from a long sunset walk. Enjoy warm or cold. Add a crusty loaf of bread, wine and some cheese to the table. Celebrate the season with this delightful meal.

Tell me, what brings you joy today?

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen gathering flavors, soon.



Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs, Peppers & Lemon

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 4 tiny red or yellow peppers, rinsed
  • 8 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 pound spaghetti, whole wheat, egg or gluten free
  • 2 lemons, rinsed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, chives, oregano), rinsed and lightly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fill a large pasta pot with water and place on stovetop. Bring to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating, place a small cast iron pan on the stovetop over high heat. When it is very hot, add the tiny red or yellow peppers. Leave the peppers in the pan until they begin to sear. Using a tongs, turn the peppers. Sear on all sides. This should take just a few minutes. Remove the peppers and set aside to cool. Add the garlic slivers to the same pan and allow to brown. This should take a minute or two. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the tops and the seeds. Cut into thin slivers.
  4. Remove the zest from both lemons. Chop finely and set aside. Juice both lemons.
  5. When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti to the pot. Stir and cook until tender. (Cooking time will vary according to the type of pasta you use.)
  6. Drain the pasta and put it into a large serving bowl. Pour on the olive oil and toss to coat. Add the lemon juice, fresh herbs, lemon zest, garlic, and peppers. Toss everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
  8. Enjoy.


  1. This recipe is adapted from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones.
  2. Consider adding any of these toppings to this dish: grated Parmigiano Reggiano, sliced avocados, grilled chicken or fish, poached or boiled eggs.
  3. For a full meal, serve with a crusty loaf of Italian bread or Savory Parmesan Scones,  Simple Roasted Asparagus and a Rhubarb Tart for dessert.

One Year Ago: Savory Crepes with Fresh Corn Salsa

Two Years Ago: Spring Tartlets

Three Years Ago: Trail Mix Cookies

Dena Testa Bray has been writing Gathering Flavors, a culinary blog, since 2011. She is a trained chef & ran a home based cooking school. Dena now designs websites, focusing on work with creative people. You can see her website work at She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and family.