This Lemon Garlic Pasta is going to blow your mind with how easy it is! It's creamy and garlicky with a lemon tang.
You only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to make it. It's also so light yet creamy, without any cream.
Many recipes use butter and cream, however, my recipe does not. You can achieve silky creamy pasta without cream, that's much lighter and healthier too 🙂
Lemon Pasta, also known as Pasta al Limone, is a common pasta dish in Italy. Spending time in Italy, I’ve learned that classic Italian cuisine uses few simple ingredients. With just a handful of good quality ingredients, you can create the most amazing dish!
I was lucky enough to make this Lemon Garlic Pasta whilst traveling in Sicily. Sicily is well known for its amazing lemons and I was fortunate to have a huge tree in the house I was staying in. They’re super sweet and not too acidic which makes them perfect for making this lemon pasta recipe.
If you don't have Sicilian lemons, don't worry! You can still cook an amazing lemon pasta that will impress everyone 🙂
Ingredients to make Lemon Garlic Pasta
- Lemon of course is the hero of the dish! Try and use an organic or good quality lemon as you will be using the zest and the fresh lemon juice. If you have a lemon tree, that's even better 🙂
- Pasta traditionally long pasta noodles are used to make lemon pasta. I've used spaghetti, you can also use capellini, linguine, or even angel hair pasta
- Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheese is used to create a beautiful creamy sauce without using any heavy cream! Always best to grate the cheese yourself rather than using pre grated cheese
- Garlic for my fellow garlic lovers is used to infuse the olive oil
- Extra virgin olive oil is always my preference rather than using butter. Use a good quality olive oil and make sure to cook on low heat
- Parsley is tossed in right at the end for freshness and a pop of colour, fresh herbs are always best
- Red pepper flakes or chilli flakes can also be added to give the pasta a kick of spice
Pasta al Limone is traditionally served and eaten alone as is. You can of course make variations and add veggies or protein. Some green vegetables that would suit it are spinach, broccoli, zucchini asparagus or even peas. You can also serve with your favourite protein such as salmon, shrimp/prawns or chicken too.
How to make Lemon Garlic Pasta
Time needed: 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta
Start to boil the pasta in heavily salted water. Ensure to save some pasta water!
- Saute garlic
Whilst the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in olive oil on a low heat so that it infuses the oil and doesn't burn it
- Prepare lemon sauce
Using a microplane or cheese grater, grate the zest of the lemon. Once done, squeeze the juice of the same lemon and remove any seeds
Add the lemon zest and juice to the pan and allow to simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes
- Mix all together
When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the pasta straight to the pan with ½ a cup of pasta water
Add the grated parmesan cheese and mix through. If needed or the pasta is dry, add another ½ cup of pasta water and keep stirring to create a lovely creamy silky sauce
- Serve it up
Stir in the chopped parsley and its ready to serve! Add a light drizzle of olive oil with more parmesan cheese and enjoy your Lemon Garlic Pasta!
Tips for Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe
- Use good quality ingredients. As Pasta Al Limone only uses a handful of ingredients try and use good quality ingredients which will give the dish more flavor. I typically like to purchase the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from an Italian deli or local market
- Roll out the lemon. Rolling the lemon on a table first is a great way to loosen the lemon juice inside so you can get the most of your lemons
- Use a cheese grater or microplane grater to zest the lemon. Ensure not to grate the white part of the lemon which is quite bitter
- Reserve some pasta water. Pasta water is key to making the creamy sauce! So make sure to reserve some as the starchy water which was used to cook pasta
- Add more pasta water if the sauce is too dry. When mixing in the cheese, add more pasta water if you notice the sauce is too dry
- Always grate your own parmesan cheese rather than using pre grated cheese. Its best to grate the parmesan finely which will help it melt a lot quicker rather than becoming clumpy
More Pasta Recipes
Lemon Garlic Pasta (Pasta Al Limone)
- 180 g pasta (I've used spaghetti)
- 1 large lemon
- 50 g finely grated parmigiano reggiano (parmesan cheese) or more to taste
- 4 large garlic cloves diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Handful chopped fresh parsley
- Extra parmigiano reggiano cheese, olive oil and red pepper flakes (optional)
- Start to boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Ensure to heavily salt the water and save some pasta water!
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, saute the garlic in olive oil in a large skillet. Cook on a low heat so that it infuses the oil and doesn't burn it
- Using a microplane or cheese grater, grate the zest of the lemon. Once done, squeeze the juice of the same lemon and remove any seedsAdd the lemon zest and juice to the pan and allow to simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes
- When the pasta is nearly cooked and nearly al dente, add the pasta straight to the pan with ½ a cup of pasta water to allow it to finish cooking in the pan over medium heatAdd the grated parmigiano cheese and mix through. If needed or the pasta is dry, add another ½ cup of pasta water and keep stirring for a couple of minutes to create a lovely creamy silky sauce
- Stir in the chopped parsley and its ready to serve! Add a light drizzle of olive oil with more parmigiano cheese and enjoy your Lemon Garlic Pasta