This lemon pasta recipe is so simple yet delicious. It tastes good by itself or with any protein of your choice. It's so versatile and budget-friendly. A quick pasta recipe that can be ready in less than 30 minutes!
Easy and Quick Lemon Pasta Recipe
I'm happy to bring you an easy pasta recipe to make for dinner or lunch with this lemon pasta. It's so flavorful, as the lemon gives a nice punch to the pasta, so refreshing yet not overpowering.
Ingredients for Lemon Pasta
To make this lemon pasta you'll need the following ingredients:
Dried pasta. I used dried spaghetti, but any long pasta such as fettuccine will work as well.
Lemon. You'll be using both lemon zest and lemon juice.
Parmesan cheese. It adds a subtle nutty flavor to the pasta, on top of that, it helps thicken the lemon sauce.
Fresh parsley. It's one of the main ingredients, so do not skip it.
Other seasonings. I used olive oil, salt, and black pepper. A very basic combination to add flavor to any dish.
Red chili pepper flakes. It's an optional ingredient. This lemon pasta will taste good with or without red chili pepper flakes. If you are going to serve this to kids, I do not recommend adding the red chili pepper flakes during cooking. You can always add them afterward for serving.
What to Serve with Lemon Pasta
This lemon pasta will pair well with any chicken, shrimp, or fish.
I often served this lemon pasta with simple grilled or oven-baked chicken breast that I season simply with salt and black pepper.
How to Make Lemon Pasta: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here are some easy steps to follow.
1. Prepare the pasta
In a large pot, bring water to a boil then cook the pasta according to the product packaging. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl then stir in the lemon juice. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water for later.
2. Make Lemon Sauce In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add red pepper chili flakes (optional), parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Cook just until fragrant. Add pasta water and bring the sauce to simmer.
3. Combine all of the Ingredients
Add parmesan cheese and let it melt. Add cooked pasta, lower the heat to low, and stir until everything is combined.
Tips to Make the Best Tasting Lemon Pasta
- Use fresh lemon. Lemon is the star ingredient of this lemon pasta. For that reason, use the freshest lemon you can get.
- Do not skip the lemon zest. Lemon zest adds a bright lemon flavor without the acidity. Avoid getting any of the fibrous white pith during zesting to prevent bitter flavor on your dish.
- Do not use dried parsley. Dried parsley does not blend well and is not as flavorful as fresh parsley. On top of that, dried parsley doesn't offer a visual impact or fresh aroma to the dish.
- Salt the pasta water. Don't forget to add salt to the pasta water to enhance the flavor of the pasta. As a general rule, use about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per 8 cups of water.
- Do not burn the garlic. Add garlic at the latter step and cook just until fragrant.
- Get your ingredients ready and put them in order. The pasta sauce cooks very quickly, make sure that you have everything you need for a smooth process.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your liking but be easy on the lemon. Sometimes what you need is just a pinch of salt to elevate the flavor of the dish.
How to Store Leftover Lemon Pasta
- First, let the pasta cool down to room temperature before refrigerating.
- Once the pasta is cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of preparation or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F. You can learn more here.
- Properly stored, the leftover will last 3-5 days in the fridge or 2-3 months in the freezer.
How to Reheat Leftover Pasta
- Place a single serving of lemon pasta in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Drizzle the pasta with a small amount of water then cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid. Cook for 1 minute at medium heat. Open the door, If the pasta isn't warmed all the way through, stir it, and cook it again in 15-second increments until completely heated.
Check Out More Pasta Recipes
- Easy Canned Tuna Pasta
- Rotini Pasta with Broccolini and Shrimp
- Mushroom Broccoli Pasta
- Anchovy Pasta with Capers
- Pasta with Mussels
- Easy Canned Clam Pasta
- Easy Squid Pasta
- Bratwurst Pasta
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating.
Lemon Pasta Recipe
- 12 oz dried spaghetti, (or use linguine, and fettuccine)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest for one extra large lemon , (jumbo lemon), about 1 tablespoon
- 3 tablespoons freshly minced parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, (and more for serving)
- a pinch red pepper flakes, (optional)
- salt and black pepper , (to taste)
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil, stir in the salt (see notes), then cook the pasta according to the product packaging. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl then stir in the lemon juice. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water to make the sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add red pepper chili flakes (if you use them), parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Cook just until fragrant. Stir in the pasta water and allow the sauce to simmer.
- Add parmesan cheese and let it melt. Turn the heat to low then add cooked pasta. Stir until everything is combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper. Remove from the heat.
- Serve with extra parmesan cheese and fresh parsley if needed.