This easy Lemon Pasta recipe has a light sauce that is bright and tangy. It is so simple to make! In the length of time it takes to boil and cook the pasta, the sauce will be done.
Lemons, lemons everywhere!
It’s citrus season here in the valley. The farmer’s markets are full of oranges, grapefruit and lemons. In fact, just about everyone has lemons. Literally, you can’t give them away right now!
My mother-in-law has a lemon bush, which is really a lemon tree that’s been shaped into a hedge. We always make sure we harvest the lemons every year. Have you ever picked lemons? If so, you know the branches are adorned with nasty thorns! Long sleeves and gloves are a must.
We collected a pile and have a whole refrigerator full! Now…. what to make?
Perhaps start with a Lemon Drop Martini. Yes… I think I should make that first and then ponder what’s next!
When we harvested the lemons, they were really light, not heavy at all. I wondered if they would be any good, but boy was I wrong! What had happened was as the lemons began to dehydrate the flavor and color intensified.
- garlic, red pepper flakes, pepper – simple pantry ingredients
- olive oil – the oil will incorporate into the sauce, use the best you have on hand.
- whipping cream, heavy cream or half and half in a pinch – a rich thick cream will be tastiest.
- fresh lemon juice and zest – this pasta has a fresh flavor and lemony zest.
- parmesan cheese – Romano or even cream cheese would work in this recipe.
- basil or parsley for garnish – if available!
- spaghetti, penne or linguine pasta – really you can use any pasta you have in the pantry.
I’ve made this lemon spaghetti recipe several times including when my folks visited. Even my Dad (who is not a pasta fan) even liked it! The flavors are bright, lemony and fresh. It’s very savory and just creamy enough. This meal is pasta perfection!
Easy Lemon Pasta Recipe
- Put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. When boiling, drop the spaghetti in and cook to al dente.
- Prepare the sauce. Chop the garlic and place in a large deep fry pan over low heat with olive oil. Season with red pepper flakes and black pepper. Slowly sauté the garlic.
- Next, add the lemon zest and whipping cream. Stir to combine.
- When the pasta is done, remove the sauce from the heat and add the lemon juice. Transfer the cooked noodles to the sauce mixing well to combine.
- Top with shredded parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley & chopped basil.
Tips and frequently asked questions
- Cooked shrimp or chicken would be a delicious addition!
- When you zest the lemon include only the yellow skin, the white pith is bitter
- Salt the pasta water well – how much salt is enough? For every six cups of water add a tablespoon of salt.
- Cook your pasta just short of al dente – the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce so you don’t want to overcook it!
- Save your pasta cooking liquid – that starchy water is perfect for loosening up the lemon cream sauce as it’s tossed with the pasta.
- Garnish with basil and parsley – the fresh herbs give it such a bright taste. Garnishing is optional but it’s something I would definitely recommend!
Can you add lemon to cream sauce?
Obviously yes because it’s part of this recipe! 😋 The addition of starch will counteract potential curdling. Add the lemon juice at the end when you’re adding the pasta. Toss together and the sauce won’t curdle.
Lemon Spaghetti Recipe
Lemons, garlic, parmesan cheese, cream, olive oil and some spices – that’s it! Couldn’t be any easier and it’s a delicious 30 minute meal.
More delicious pasta and sauce recipes
Homemade Alfredo Sauce – super tasty, rich and flavorful, this is 100 times better than sauce in a jar.
One Pot Pasta Recipe – toss all of the ingredients in the pot! This is the easiest recipe!
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Love this meal? Please be sure and comment below and leave a five-star rating! If you’re on Instagram I’d love it if you tag me with #bowlmeover or @bowlmeover so I get to see your delicious plate of pasta!
Lemon Pasta Recipe
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- basil and parsley for garnish if desired
- 13.5 oz package spaghetti
- Start by putting a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, drop the spaghetti in and cook according to package directions to just al dente.
- While the pot is heating and spaghetti is cooking continue to prepare the sauce. Chop the garlic and place in a large deep fry pan over low heat with olive oil. Don't allow the garlic to brown, this will make it bitter. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper. Slowly sauté the garlic for about 10 minutes, along with the spices.
- Next add the lemon zest and whipping cream. Continue to stir and the flavors will slowly combine and the sauce will begin to thicken.
- When the pasta is done, turn the heat off from the sauce. Add in the lemon juice. Stir to combine, then begin transferring the cooked noodles to the sauce mixing well to combine.
- Top the noodles with the shredded parmesan cheese and mix again. Garnish with parsley & chopped basil.
Tips to make this pasta the BEST
- Salt the pasta water well
- Cook your pasta just short of al dente
- Save some of the pasta cooking liquid to add to the sauce
- Garnish with basil and parsley