Pasta al Limone


This bright, simple, lemon-y pasta is a wonderful vegetarian dish. Try adding seared shrimp, scallops, or chicken if you live in a must-have-meat household (George added chicken to his, duh). My kids absolutely devour this pasta every time I make it, especially when I use this fun pasta shape from Trader Joe’s. 

Pasta al Limone

Servings 4


  • Large pot
  • Large Saucepan
  • microplane
  • Cheese grater


  • 1 lb short pasta such as rotini or penne
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese grate more and leave aside for garnish (MUST be freshly grated – aka buy a block and grate it yourself. Store bought grated parmesan has preservatives that will make it clump)
  • freshly grated black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook 1 pound of pasta per package instructions. 
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt together 5 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Using a microplane or the smallest hole on a box grater, grate the zest of 1 lemon and 2 garlic cloves into the sauce pan. Stir to cook the lemon and garlic for several minutes, then turn the heat to low.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. 
  • To the saucepan with the lemon butter, add the drained pasta, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, the juice from the zested lemon, 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water, and a pinch of salt. 
  • Toss everything together until the Parmesan melts into a creamy sauce. Add another splash of the reserved pasta water if you need things a bit saucier. 
  • Serve immediately and garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan and several grinds of fresh pepper. 
Course: Dinner, Main Course, pasta
Cuisine: Italian

Join the Conversation

  1. Looks delicious! Is there any part of this that would freeze well? Either the finished product all tossed together, or the sauce from step 2? Thanks for your great recipes!

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