Lemon Pasta is a bright and simple pasta dish perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. On the table in under 20 minutes, this dish uses fresh garlic, zesty lemon, and creamy parmesan cheese to create a light meal everyone will enjoy. Serve it as is or add a protein and fresh veggies to round it out, it’s a hit either way!
Lemon Pasta is one of those simple recipes that seems almost too good to be true. Quick to make while utilizing ingredients commonly found in the kitchen, you wouldn’t think this dish would be as flavorful as it is!
The lemon and garlic combination is savory and citrusy. Freshly grated parmesan and fresh herbs really elevate this recipe and make it the perfect summertime dinner.
It is easily enjoyed as is for a quick lunch or dinner, but you can also add your favorite chicken or seafood for a bit of protein. Or keep it vegetarian and add some extra veggies!
How to Make Lemon Pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook your pasta to al dente in texture, typically about one minute less than the directions on the package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Don’t forget to salt your water before boiling your pasta.
- As the water boils and the pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix and set aside.
- Now in a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Careful not to burn. Once the butter melts, add the garlic cloves and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Now add the lemon juice and cheese mixture as well as the reserved pasta water. Simmer for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat.
- Add the linguine, freshly chopped basil, and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Use a splash or two of the reserved pasta water to loosen the noodles if desired.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley or basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Serve while warm and enjoy!
Lemon Pasta Tips and Variations
- You don’t have to stick strictly to linguine pasta. You can use any type of long pasta you have on hand. Fettuccine, angel hair, and spaghetti are all great options.
- Add baked chicken or serve alongside oven baked salmon to add protein to this meal.
- Sun Dried tomatoes and spinach can add color and veggies to this pasta.
- For a creamy version, use milk, heavy cream, or half and half instead of the pasta water.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Store any leftover Lemon Pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Warm in the microwave for 60 seconds or until heated through. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese.
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- 16 ounces linguine pasta
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated off the block, plus more for garnish
- ½ cup lemon juice freshly squeezed (about 2 large lemons)
- ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves fresh, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Chopped basil or parsley for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directions). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, and drain the remaining.16 ounces linguine pasta1 cup reserved pasta water
- While the water is coming to a boil, combine the oil, cheese, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside.¼ cup extra virgin olive oil½ cup parmesan cheese½ cup lemon juice½ teaspoons kosher salt½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, add the lemon cheese mixture and the reserved pasta water. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, and remove from heat.3 tablespoons unsalted butter4 garlic cloves
- Add the cooked pasta, fresh basil, and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Use a splash or two of the reserved pasta water to loosen the noodles if desired.2 tablespoons basil leaves1 tablespoon lemon zest
- Garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley and extra Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. See post for storage options.Chopped basil or parsley