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If you’re in the mood for a dish bursting with flavor, easy to whip up, and perfect for any occasion, look no further than this Lemon Pasta recipe! Crafted with just a handful of simple ingredients, it’s a culinary symphony where zesty lemon, rich Parmesan, and comforting spaghetti come together in harmony in just 30 minutes!
Easy Lemon Pasta
In a world where time is precious and schedules are hectic, this lemon pasta recipe is a delicious lifesaver. It showcases the culinary magic that unfolds in the kitchen when one combines basic ingredients with a dash of creativity. And, as the name implies, the star of this show is none other than the humble lemon.
This recipe seamlessly marries simplicity with sophistication by infusing a rich butter sauce with fresh lemon zest and juice! The sauce is then tossed with simple spaghetti and parmesan cheese to produce a dish with a zesty punch of flavor. Whether you serve this lemon pasta dish as a last-minute meal or at the fanciest dinner party, it never fails to impress!
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Pasta
- Quick and Easy! Finding a recipe that’s both quick and delicious is like discovering culinary gold! With a total time of 30 minutes and a short list of ingredients, this recipe is perfect for hectic days!
- Zesty Lemon Pasta! This dish strikes the perfect balance between rich, buttery indulgence and zesty vibrant fresh lemon flavor. It’s a delicious dish that’s both comforting and refreshing.
- Versatile Dish! Lemon pasta is incredible! But its versatility knows no bounds. Feel like adding grilled chicken or seafood for added protein? Or perhaps some asparagus? The choice is yours.
- Spaghetti: The hearty and satisfying core of the dish. Feel free to use any kind of noodles you like including gluten-free options.
- Olive Oil: Along with the butter, it forms the base of the sauce. For the most flavorful results, I recommend using extra virgin olive oil.
- Butter: Adds richness to the sauce. Always use unsalted butter in cooking to control the saltiness of the finished dish.
- Garlic: Infuses the sauce with a delightful pungent and savory depth of flavor.
- Lemon: Both the zest and juice provide the signature citrusy, tangy flavor that defines this lemon pasta recipe.
- Parmesan Cheese: Incorporated into the sauce to give it a salty and nutty richness while also helping it thicken and bind to the pasta.
- Salt and Pepper: Essential seasonings that enhance and balance the flavors.
- Fresh Parsley: Adds a vibrant pop of color and a touch of fresh, herbaceous flavor to the finished dish.
This recipe proves that you don’t need a culinary degree or hours to create something extraordinary. From start to finish, this easy pasta recipe takes less than 20 minutes!
Begin by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil and then cook the pasta according to the package instructions for al dente. Then reserve about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining the noodles in a colander. You will need the water later in the recipe to achieve the ideal sauce consistency.
While your pasta cooks, you can begin making the sauce. First, heat the olive oil and unsalted butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Then once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic and saute it for about 1 minute just until fragrant. Next, stir in the lemon juice and zest, and then remove the pan from the heat.
After you’ve made the sauce, add the cooked noodles to the pan and toss together until fully coated in sauce. Now, stir in the grated Parmesan.
At this point, if the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out by adding a little bit of the reserved pasta water. Then taste the pasta and season with salt and black pepper as needed.
Once ready, garnish your lemon pasta with chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil if you prefer. Then serve it immediately as is or top it with some grilled chicken breast, baked salmon, or baked shrimp if you like!
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I add to the dish?
This dish is wonderfully versatile. You can toss the finished pasta with grilled chicken, shrimp, sautéed vegetables like broccoli or zucchini, toasted pine nuts, or anything your heart desires!
Can I use other types of pasta?
Absolutely! You can experiment with different pastas like linguine, fettuccine, or even penne. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions.
Is there a vegan alternative to make this lemon pasta?
Yes, you can modify this dish to be vegan-friendly by substituting the butter with more olive oil or a vegan butter and using a vegan Parmesan cheese alternative, which is often made from cashews and nutritional yeast.
- Use fresh lemons. For the best results, avoid using bottled lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice and zest make the dish.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Cook the pasta just until it’s al dente to ensure the perfect texture. It will continue cooking a little when tossed with the sauce.
- Reserve some pasta water. Before draining the cooked pasta, save a cup of the pasta cooking liquid to adjust the consistency of the sauce if needed.
- Choose quality Parmesan. Avoid pre-packaged, powdered Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan adds the best flavor and texture.
You can store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, add a splash of water to the lemon pasta and warm gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Discover More Delicious Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta
- Spaghetti Bolognese
- One Pot Sausage Pasta
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Pasta
- Pasta alla Vodka
- Chicken Kiev Pasta
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water according to the package instructions until al dente. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the pan from heat.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan with the lemon sauce and toss until the pasta is well coated. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. If the sauce is too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Season the pasta with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Garnish with the chopped fresh parsley or basil before serving.
- Lemon Selection: Choose lemons that are bright yellow, plump, and have a slightly glossy finish to ensure they are at peak ripeness for maximum flavor.
- Pasta Varieties: While spaghetti is recommended, feel free to swap it out for your favorite pasta type – fettuccine or linguine also work well with this lemony sauce.
- Garlic Intensity: Adjust the amount of minced garlic to your preference. If you’re a fan of robust garlic flavor, consider adding an extra clove.
- Cheese Alternative: For a slightly different flavor, try using Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. It will add a bolder, saltier edge to your dish.
- Vegan Option: Substitute the butter with more olive oil and use a vegan cheese alternative to make this dish vegan-friendly.
- Herb Variations: While parsley is a classic choice, consider trying fresh basil or even a sprinkle of fresh thyme or rosemary for a unique flavor twist.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.