We stumbled upon this recipe on New Year’s Day six or seven years ago when we were lucky enough to have a bounty of luscious leftover caviar from a celebration the night before and were looking for a way to use it up (I know — what a deliriously happy dilemma!). We happened to have had the rest of the ingredients in the house — angel hair, lemon, butter, salt and white pepper — and within 10 minutes, a New Year’s Day tradition was born.

This dish could not be simpler, yummier or more festive and elegant, depending, of course, on whether you fall closer to Tom Hanks in Big or Christian Slater on Curb Your Enthusiam on the caviarphile scale.

We had picked up a beautiful tin of Osetra in the city early last week when we were expecting friends for New Year’s Eve, but our plans got squashed and instead we wound up hosting an adorable gaggle of Westport’s most polite teenagers. We didn’t open the tin on New Year’s Eve — for although these charming teens had palates fine enough to appreciate shrimp cocktail, stuffed mushrooms, hand-rolled pigs-in-blankets, and prime tenderloin with béarnaise, we figured we had to draw the line somewhere!

So last night we popped open a bottle of bubbly rosé and officially celebrated 2010 with the boys, who eagerly await this decadent annual treat. And from our home to yours: we extend our warmest wishes for a new year filled with health and happiness, love and laughter, peace and prosperity. Cheers!

Lemon Capellini with Caviar

From The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten ©1999


    • Olive oil
    • 1 pound dried capellini
    • ½ pound unsalted butter, melted
    • Zest and juice of 2 lemons, plus additional zest for garnish
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
    • 150 grams very good black caviar


1. Drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water; add capellini, and cook until al dente. Drain quickly, leaving a little of the water. Quickly toss capellini with melted butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

2. Place one serving of pasta on each plate, and top with a large dollop of fresh caviar. Garnish with extra grated lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

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