This easy Lemon Pasta recipe is deliciously tangy and creamy, plus it comes together in under 15 minutes! It’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Looking for the perfect pasta dish to serve at your next dinner party?
This creamy Lemon Pasta is just what you’re looking for!
- It’s an easy recipe that only takes 15 minutes!
- It’s a crowd pleaser and vegetarian-friendly.
- It’s super affordable – you can make this lemon pasta for less than $15.
And because this pasta al limone recipe is so easy and so affordable, that leaves plenty of room in the budget for wine and plenty of time for enjoying your guests and drinking said wine.
My favorite wine for pairing with this Lemon Pasta is Chardonnay. It’s creamy, with notes of citrus, just like this pasta! See my other wine pairing suggestions below…
- Spaghetti – Or, other pasta of your choosing. Linguine, angel hair and bucatini are also delicious.
- Lemons – We’ll use the fresh lemon juice and zest.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Heavy Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Basil – This is optional. It’s also delicious with fresh parsley or tarragon.
How to make it
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water.
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Combine lemon juice, oil, heavy cream, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes in a bowl to combine.
- Add ¼ cup of the pasta water and whisk to combine.
- Toss until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Add remaining cooking liquid, if necessary.
- Garnish with lemon zest and parmesan cheese. Season with salt & pepper.
- Generously salt your pasta cooking water. This ensures that your pasta is flavored right from the beginning. Use one tablespoon of salt for every six cups of water. We’re also going to be using that pasta cooking water to flavor our sauce.
- Cook your pasta just short of al dente. I like to cook my pasta for about a minute less than the package directions call for. This is because the pasta will continue to cook as it’s tossed with the lemon cream sauce, and we don’t want it becoming mushy. I cooked my spaghetti for 8 minutes.
- Save your pasta cooking liquid. That starchy water is perfect for loosening up the lemon cream sauce as it’s tossed with the pasta.
- Lemon pasta with chicken: Stir in some cooked shredded chicken or sliced chicken breasts.
- Lemon pasta with salmon: Top your bowls of pasta with a salmon filet or some flaked salmon.
- Shrimp: Some sauteed shrimp would be delicious in this recipe.
- Cheese: Swirl in some ricotta or mascarpone at the end for extra creaminess.
- Without cream: Simply add some additional pasta cooking liquid or chicken broth.
- Want to add even more flavor? Try adding a dollop of this tangy gremolata sauce to your finished pasta. Or, swirl in some kale pesto or arugula pesto. Or, top your bowl with these fried capers.
How to make ahead & store
This creamy lemon pasta will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. Store it in an airtight container. Reheat leftovers in the microwave, or in a skillet over low heat, adding in a splash more water, chicken broth, or cream.
What to serve with Lemon Pasta
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Cherry Tomato Salad with Roasted Lemons
- Arugula Salad
- Sauteed Zucchini & Squash
- Easy Sauteed Spinach
- More → 35+ Easy Sides for Spaghetti
- More → the BEST Italian desserts
I hope that you love this simple lemon pasta as much as I do. And as perfect as it is for a dinner party, it’s also equally amazing to enjoy it while you’re in PJ’s enjoying an episode of the Real Housewives and a chilled glass of Chardonnay…
You may even have the ingredients on hand already to make it. No need for a special occasion – any day of the week is perfect for Lemon Pasta.
- Chardonnay is a perfect match with the creamy, tangy sauce and the nutty parmesan cheese in this recipe.
- MORE —> wine pairings for pasta.
More quick & easy pasta recipes
- Roasted Fennel Pasta with Ricotta
- Tuna Pasta
- Miso Pasta
- Squid Ink Pasta with Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes
- BLT Pasta
- Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage & Sage
- Pea & Bacon Pasta
Did you try this pasta with lemon?
If you loved this lemon spaghetti I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Easy Lemon Pasta Recipe
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of generously salted boiling water (1 tablespoon of salt for every 6 cups of water) until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally.
- Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return drained spaghetti to the pot.
- Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice, oil, heavy cream, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes in a bowl to combine. Add ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and whisk to combine.
- Add lemon sauce to spaghetti in pot; toss until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Add remaining cooking liquid, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with lemon zest, chopped basil (if desired) and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
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This post was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2022 to add new photographs, and again in 2023 to add new content. The lemon pasta recipe remains the same. Enjoy!