Get ready to savor the incredible flavors with this mouthwatering easy lemon garlic parmesan pasta, also known as Pasta al Limone! This dish is a delightful fusion of tangy and savory notes that will leave you craving more. Made with fresh, readily available ingredients, it's the perfect choice for those seeking a light and refreshing meal.
Whether you're planning a fancy dinner party or simply need a quick and easy meal, this lemon pasta is a guaranteed showstopper!
I love a quick and easy pasta recipe for a busy weeknight. This lemon pasta recipe comes together in 20 minutes and makes 6 to 8 delicious servings. The buttery lemon garlic sauce is so full of flavor!
This easy spaghetti recipe is versataile and you can enjoy it as a weeknight family dinner or for a special occasion with company.
Why you'll love this delicious pasta recipe
- Quick & Easy! - this easy lemon Parmesan pasta will take 20 minutes from start to finish. This is the kind of pasta dish I love!
- Bursting with Flavor: The lemon, Parmesan, and garlic combination creates a vibrant and delicious taste that will tantalize your taste buds.
- Versatile and Customizable: Add your favorite protein or vegetables to make this dish your own and adapt it to your personal preferences.
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Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta (Pasta al Limone)
This recipe is made with simple ingredients that would be easy to be find in a local grocery store.
- Coarse sea salt - Substitute any salt if necessary.
- Unsalted butter - You can use salted butter as a substitute, but you'll want to lower or omit the sea salt added at the end. Olive oil can also be used as a substitution when necessary.
- Olive oil - You can substitute your favorite oil, such as canola, vegetable, or avocado oil. You can also substitute extra butter instead.
- Spaghetti: Durum wheat semolina pasta is preferred for flavor and texture; however, most brands will work. You can also use thin spaghetti, angel hair pasta or fettuccine for similar results. Any long pasta noodles!
- Lemons: Fresh lemons work best for this recipe; however, you can use lemon juice from the concentrate and omit the zest if needed.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic or jarred minced garlic will work. 3 cloves is about 1 ½ teaspoons minced. I don't recommend garlic powder in this recipe.
- Parmesan: I prefer using Parmigiano Reggiano if available since it's the best quality, however, any fresh parmesan works well when shredded. Grated parmesan also works though it tastes quite different from fresh parmesan.
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Flat-leaf Italian parsley
- optional sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Can I make this lemon pasta dairy-free?
Sure! You could omit the butter and increase the quantity of olive oil by 3 Tablespoons, or substitute the butter for a vegetable butter of your choice. You could also substitute the parmesan for vegan parmesan cheese.
Add some protein - You could add protein to this lemon garlic pasta by adding a pound of grilled chicken. Another excellent choice would be one pound of white fish.
Make lemon garlic shrimp pasta by lightly sautéing the shrimp and tossing it into the pan at the same time that you add the pasta; however, I would recommend omitting the parmesan in the case of fish or seafood as it may overpower the delicate flavor. Parmesan Shrimp Pasta is delicious!
All of these protein options will pair perfectly with the buttery lemon garlic pasta sauce.
How to Make Lemon Pasta - Step by Step Instructions
You can find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this page. I like to include step-by-step photos to ensure that you have success with the recipe! Let's get making this simple pasta dish!
STEP 1 - Fill a large pot with the water and add a Tablespoon of coarse sea salt. Put on high heat and bring to a boil.
STEP 2 - While you wait for the water to boil, melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over low heat.
STEP 3 - Once the water is boiling, add the fully melted butter and the pasta.
STEP 4 - Add half the lemon zest, about 1 Tablespoon, and the minced garlic to the melted butter.
STEP 5 - Set a timer for 5 minutes, and stir the pasta and the butter mixture frequently.
STEP 6 - When the timer goes off, use the spaghetti server spoon to remove the pasta from the boiling water and add it directly into the pan with the cooking sauce.
NOTE: Remember to reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water!
STEP 7 - Add the lemon juice and 1 cup of the pasta cooking water directly into the pan with the spaghetti.
STEP 8 - Keep the pan on low heat and cook the pasta in the lemon sauce for five minutes. Toss the spaghetti several times while cooking to ensure the sauce evenly coats the pasta.
STEP 9 - Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and sprinkle in the parmesan cheese, sea salt, and black pepper, mixing thoroughly.
- Separate the pasta onto 4-6 large serving plates and sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley onto each serving.
- Serve hot, garnished with extra cheese, remaining lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper, optional.
Eating this pasta immediately after it is ready is best. However, you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days or in the freezer for up to eight months and reheat in a pan on the stove; add a little water and salt on low-medium heat for approximately five minutes or ten minutes if frozen. Leftovers can also be reheated in the microwave if desired.