My goodness, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but this Pasta al Limone recipe will hopefully be worth the wait. Pasta with lemons seem to be all the rage right now, but the funny thing is, I’ve been making this, and versions of it, for ages, I’m a huge fan of lemons and this recipe is heavenly. As I looked back at all the recipes on this site, this is my first pasta recipe! How can that be? I love pasta and make it frequently for the fam, not sure how a few recipes haven’t slipped in.
- This pasta makes a wonderful side dish with chicken, or on its own with a green salad
- Lighter than many versions I’ve seen, but just as delicious
- It has very few ingredients, but they all pack a punch!
Here are some tips to get the most out of this Pasta al Limone dish:
Tip #1: Always zest your lemons before you cut and squeeze them.
Tip #2: Don’t cook the pasta all the way, remove it from the water a few minutes before it hits al dente, it will finish cooking (and absorbing that amazing flavors of the sauce) in the sauce.
Tip #3: Save some pasta water! Don’t drain it down the sink, pull it right in from the pot into the sauce. Use pasta water to loosen up the dish as needed. This applies pretty much to
Pasta al Limone
This pasta al limone recipe is quick and easy and has very few ingredients. Lemon, parm and black pepper are the perfect combo with the pasta.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 1x
- Category: Dinner, side-dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- 12 oz. angel hair pasta (most long kinds of pasta will work with this dish*)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves**, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) Aleppo chili flakes, (or red pepper flakes)
- 3 lemons, zested (use a Microplane ) (about 2 tablespoons)
- Juice of those 3 zested lemons*** (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
- 1–2 tablespoons cold butter
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated**** (about a half cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (basil or chopped thyme would be lovely too!) (tearing vs. chopping the basil helps to keep it green)
In a large stockpot that holds a generous amount of boiling, well-salted (like the sea, at least 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt) water, cook the pasta until not quite al dente (about 2-3 minutes under box reco).
While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, over medium-high, heat the olive oil, add the shallots and saute for about 2-3 minutes until getting golden. Add the garlic and saute another 1 minute, until fragrant, add in the Aleppo chili flakes and mix into the oil.
Add the lemon juice and lemon zest to the shallots and garlic mixture, then add the cooked (before al dente stage) pasta (very important: reserve about 2 cups of the cooked pasta water). Add about 1 cup of the reserved pasta water, and butter and toss, toss and toss a little more. Turn heat off and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Toss some more. Season lots of fresh cracked black pepper.
Finally, stir in the chopped parsley or basil and, ideally, some grated lemon zest and a little extra parmesan. If the dish is dry and tight, add some of the reserved pasta water and toss well.
*Spaghetti, bucatini, linguine all work. Fettucine is a bit heavy for this light sauce. Save it for a creamier pasta dish.
** Don’t be afraid of the garlic when it is sliced thin and sautéed for a bit, it does not overpower the dish.
***This lemon juicer is the best tool I’ve found for juicing lemons and limes.
****I use my food processor to grate/grind my parm. Just turn it down and drop 1″ or so chunks down the shoot, then process to get the texture you desire. Using a Microplane is nice to top the pasta, but I find it’s too light to use in a dish.
Note: I do not add any extra kosher salt. If your pasta water is properly seasoned, and with the cheese, it’s sort of perfect. But you be sure to season to taste.
Want to see how much Italians love lemons? Check out this travel page, the lemons are the size of your head!
Need a delish lemony dessert recipe to top off this fabulous dinner? Check out my Dried Cherry, Pistachio and Lemon Biscotti recipe. A great compliment to Pasta al Limone.
While your at it, sign up for a few classes. Head to my class page and check them out.