This Lemon Pasta is silky smooth, outrageously tasty and comes together in under 15mins. Plus it couldn’t be easier to make!
There’s a few different ways you can make lemon pasta, but here I’ll show you the tastiest way imaginable. Follow me…
Lemon Pasta Ingredients
A lot of recipes use cream to create the lemon sauce. Pasta Al Limone I believe it’s called. However, much to your (and my) surprise there’s actually no cream in this recipe! In my opinion you really don’t need it.
The key to a gorgeous lemon sauce for pasta is balancing the flavours and adding a good amount of savoury flavour to the sauce. Pasta with only lemon juice is a fairly unappealing combo, what you really want to do is build a sauce that celebrates the lemon without masking its flavour. But also one that stops the lemon getting carried away. It’s a tricky balance, but I believe I’ve cracked it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Spaghetti – I find long cut pasta works best with this recipe. Because the sauce is quite thin, you can toss the spaghetti and distribute the sauce easier.
- Lemon – Both the zest and the juice.
- Butter – This creates a nice savoury base for the sauce.
- Garlic – Garlic + Butter + Lemon = heaven!
- Parsley – Pairs perfectly with the above ingredients.
- Parmesan – Adds a nice savoury tone to the sauce.
- Salt and Black Pepper – The black pepper balances out the sweet and salty tones in the sauce by adding a hit of spice.
Making Lemon Pasta
Genuinely couldn’t be easier. The sauce will be finished by the time the pasta has cooked!
Starchy Pasta Water
An ingredient not mentioned above (is water an ingredient these days?!). Using the water your pasta is cooked in is essential in creating the lemon sauce. It creates an emulsion with the butter to help form a silky, glossy and very slightly creamy sauce.
How to use Starchy Pasta Water in Lemon Pasta
Two really important factors to consider:
- Make sure the pasta water is properly seasoned with salt. This ensures it doesn’t dilute the flavour of the sauce.
- Be sure to scoop the pasta water out JUST before the pasta has cooked. This will ensure the water is at its starchiest, which in turn is what ensures the sauce goes nice and creamy.
Process shots: melt butter (photo 1), fry garlic, lemon zest and black pepper (photo 2), whisk in lemon juice and pasta water (photo 3), melt in parmesan (photo 4), add pasta (photo 5), toss with parsley (photo 6).
Serving Lemon Pasta
Use your starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed. If it ends up too watery just keep tossing the pasta until the sauce thickens and clings to it.
To serve, honestly I love this pasta as it is. Having said that, in the past I have added asparagus, chicken and prawns/shrimp, which all go really nicely! To serve I usually add more parmesan and parsley, but that’s totally optional.
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this lemon pasta shall we?!
How to make Lemon Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)
Easy Lemon Pasta (so delicious!)
- Large Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Large Pot & Pasta Tongs
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Finer Cheese Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 1lb / 500g Dried Spaghetti
- 6 tbsp / 90g / 3oz Butter, diced into cubes
- 1/3 cup / 30g freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
- 2 heaped tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley, plus more to serve
- 1 large Lemon, zest and juice
- 3 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (see notes)
- Salt, as needed
- Add spaghetti to a pot of heavily salted boiling water and cook un al dente. Don't drain the liquid when it's cooked, transfer the pasta straight from the pot to the pan. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water just before its cooked.
- Meanwhile melt butter into a pan over medium heat, then add garlic, lemon zest and black pepper. Fry for a couple of mins to cook the garlic, then pour in lemon juice and 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water. Whisk it to emulsify everything until it begins turning cloudy.
- Add in parmesan and continue to stir until it melts into the sauce. Transfer spaghetti straight from the pot into the pan and add parsley. Toss the pasta until the sauce thickens and wraps around the pasta. It should have a light creamy/glossy texture. Use more starchy pasta water to thin out as needed, or continue to toss and reduce the sauce if it's too watery.
- Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly, then serve with extra parmesan and parsley if desired!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
For more quick pasta recipes check out these beauties:
- Lemon Chicken Orzo
- Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
- Boursin Cheese Pasta
- Leftover Chicken and Bacon Pasta
- Bruschetta Pasta
If you plan on making the Lemon Pasta recipe then be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!