Creamy lemon pasta with transport you to the Amalfi Coast in a bite!Jump to Recipe
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For over a year, I’ve been trying to recreate one of my favorite pasta dishes: pasta al limone. It’s an Amalfi Coast classic, and one my surprise favorites from the region! The bright lemon burst of flavor is the pure taste of summer.
I’ve spent all year testing various recipes for true pasta al limone! From what I’ve researched, there are two variations: one is made with cream, and often topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. The other is dairy-free and sometimes paired with shrimp. Both have this lovely, silky sauce that’s light and refreshing.
Today, I’m sharing my cream-based lemon pasta! It’s so easy to make, and equally delicious in hot or cold weather.
As with all my lemon recipes, picking quality lemons will make or break this. Choose local when you can. Even better if they’re organic because much of the flavor comes from the peel.
Traditionally this is served as a primo, or pasta course, and would often be followed by a meat and vegetable secondo. That’s why many of these classic pasta dishes don’t have much to offer in terms of what we might think of as a well-rounded nutritious meal: when you eat a small serving of pasta as part of a larger meal, it’s balanced.
If you’re like me and not interested in cooking a three-course meal on a weeknight, you can always add some green by boiling green beans in the water before the pasta! Then set them aside, boil your spaghetti and continue with the recipe. The flavors here pair so well with green beans that I often put them in the same bowl and let the pasta sauce flavor everything!
Like many cream sauces, the sauce doesn’t reheat very well, so I don’t recommend making a huge vat of this. Creamy lemon pasta is so quick to make that it doesn’t need to be a “cook enough for lunch all week” kind of recipe – 15 minutes and you’re done, including chopping.
Creamy Lemon Pasta
- 1 lb spaghetti (450 g) or other long pasta
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter (113 g)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 lemons
- 3 ½ oz cream (100 ml)
- salt & pepper to taste
- parmesan optional
- parsley optional
- Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Mince the garlic and zest the lemons.
- Heat the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently. They shouldn't get brown, only softened.
- Cook the pasta according the package instructions, but with two minutes less on the cook time. It'll finish cooking in the sauce.
- When the garlic is softened and fragrant, add cream, olive oil, zest of three lemons and juice of only two. Cook on low heat for 3-5 minutes, until slightly reduced, stirring regularly.
- When the pasta is done, set aside ½ cup pasta water then drain the spaghetti. Pour a few tablespoons of the pasta water into the sauce, then add spaghetti. Toss well to coat the pasta using tongs, adding more pasta water if you need it. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with parsley and parmesan and serve immediately!
Once I perfect my non-dairy pasta al limone, I’ll share that too! But I may have to a bit more taste-testing first. 😉
In the meantime, if you’re looking for more great summer meals, follow me on Pinterest for never-ending meal inspiration!