Are you tired of your usual pasta dishes and looking to add a burst of refreshing flavor to your meals? Look no further than lemon pasta. This zesty and tangy dish combines the richness of pasta with the bright acidity of lemons, creating a delightful and light meal option that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply want to elevate your weeknight dinner routine, lemon pasta is the perfect recipe to try.
When it comes to comfort foods pasta has got to be at the top of the list. And this Lemon Pasta recipe is so light and flavor filled it has secured its spot at the top as one of the best recipes with pasta I have had.
The versatility of pasta allows it to be used with a variety of meats and sauces. And I confess that I love them all. Typically pasta is the supporting structure that brings little flavor to a dish. But this time around it finally gets its time to shine.
What is Lemon Pasta
Free from heavy sauces or smothered in meat Lemon Pasta is a light dish with a subtle lemon butter sauce. A hint of parmesan cheese is thrown on as a compliment to the zesty tangy flavor of the lemon. Together they make the pasta shine.
Lemon pasta offers a symphony of fresh flavors that awaken your senses. The bright and tangy notes of freshly squeezed lemon juice add a burst of acidity that cuts through the richness of the pasta, resulting in a perfectly balanced dish. It’s like a breath of fresh air on your plate!
If you’re tired of heavy cream-based sauces, lemon pasta provides an excellent alternative while still being satisfying. The lightness and subtle acidity from the lemon create a sauce that coats the noodles beautifully without overwhelming them. Enjoying a plateful feels indulgent yet leaves you feeling refreshed instead of weighed down.
Ingredients & Substitutions
When it comes to cooking I believe that we need to honor our own preferences but be open to learn about the preferences of others. If there is an ingredient that you hate then omit it. If there is one that you love that you want to add then go for it. Make this dish your own.
- Pasta: This simple dish is best made with a long pasta such as spaghetti or linguini. I find that the longer pasta noodles are coated more easily by the sauce. However if those are not available then a shorter pasta would work as well.
- Olive Oil: When it comes to cooking pasta my go to oil is Olive Oil. There is a richness to this oil that compliments the pasta and corresponding spices.
- Butter: In my opinion butter makes everything better, especially salted butter. This Lemon Pasta benefits from the rich and creamy nature of the butter and I am here for it.
- Garlic: Can you really have a pasta dish without garlic? I do not think so.
- Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is creamy and salty, I highly recommend it for this dish. It elevates the flavor to a whole new level.
- Lemon: When I say that this recipe calls for lemon I am referring to the lemon juice and to lemon zest. If you are not a huge lemon fan than just use the lemon juice. This recipe is called Lemon Pasta for a reason, so don’t be afraid to add it.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Bringing a bit of spice this is an optional seasoning to add. I prefer the balance that the red pepper flakes bring to this dish.
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper: These simple spices brings out the flavor of whatever they are added to. In a recipe as simple as this one they are helpful in bringing out the subtle flavors of the lemon, butter, and cheese.
- Parsley: Bringing the balance of beauty to this dish parsley serves no other purpose than to bring beauty, and it does just that.
Cooking Lemon Pasta
Pasta in and of itself is a fairly easy thing to cook. As long as water is boiling when pasta is put into it. And the pasta is removed when it is soft enough to bite through or Al Dente. You should not have an issue with your pasta turning out.
As long as you have a deep pan and a hot stove cooking pasta is pretty simple. I like to use a Pasta Cooker that allows me to easily lift my pasta out of the pot. That way I avoid the mess or stress of carrying hot liquid to the sink.
If you do not have a Pasta Cooker try using a large cooking pot instead.
The sauce for this dish is also fairly easy and straightforward.
When cooking the Lemon Pasta sauce using a Large Deep Skillet works best. It is able to hold a significant amount of pasta and allows me to mix the ingredients easily.
This is the skillet that I have and I love it. It is nonstick and significant in size. And the best part is that it is dishwasher safe. So when it comes to clean up I am not standing scrubbing a pan for forever.
When cooking the sauce do so over a medium high heat. The olive oil and butter will work with the heat to help release the flavor in the crushed red pepper and minced garlic. I like to simmer the two for a minute before adding the lemon juice and pasta water.
Once all of the ingredients are in the skillet I like to turn the temperature down a bit and let the flavors come together. Placing the burner on a medium-low heat allows the Lemon Pasta to really become creamy. The pasta heats up with the sauce and I will use a pair of tongs to gently mix the pasta with the sauce.
Lemon Pasta Frequently Asked Questions
What is the secret to perfect pasta?
While cooking pasta may seem straightforward, achieving perfection every time can be a challenge. The secret lies in understanding the key factors that contribute to exceptional pasta dishes. In this article, we will uncover the secrets to perfect pasta by exploring various tips and techniques.
Choosing the Right Pasta:
The type of pasta you select plays a significant role in determining its final outcome. Different shapes and sizes work better with specific sauces or preparations. For example, long noodles like spaghetti pair well with lighter sauces, while short shapes like penne or rigatoni hold up better with chunky or creamy sauces.
Salted Water is Crucial:
To infuse flavor into your pasta from within, it’s essential to cook it in generously salted water – almost as salty as seawater! Salting the water helps season the pasta itself rather than relying solely on sauce for taste. Make sure to bring water to a boil prior to adding the pasta. This prevents the outside of the pasta getting mushy before the inside cooks completely.
Timing is Everything:
Cooking times mentioned on packaging are usually just guidelines; you need to find your sweet spot based on personal preference. Undercooking your pasta slightly (al dente) ensures it retains some bite when combined with sauce, providing an enjoyable texture.
Thick and Creamy Pasta Sauce:
Adding some of the pasta water to the sauce will help to thicken it up and add to the creaminess. The starch that is released from the pasta during cooking comes out into the water. Adding some of the pasta water to the sauce helps it to thicken to resemble a true sauce.
Why should pasta never be rinsed after cooking?
Pasta is a starch, and heating it in the water releases the natural starch within the pasta. This starch brings flavor but also helps sauces to adhere to the pasta. When it is rinsed the starch is washed off and sauces are unable to stick to it. This is a hot dish, with a warm sauce you do not rinse the pasta.
With a cold dish such as pasta salad rinsing the pasta is ok. Cold sauces are able to adhere to the cold pasta better.
So here is your rule of thumb. Warm dish no rinse. Cold dish go ahead and rinse.
How do I store Lemon Pasta?
Storing Lemon Pasta in an air tight container in the refrigerator is best. It can last for up to two days. I find after that the pasta tends to dry out.
When it is time to reheat just pop it into the microwave or onto the stove top with a small amount of water. This will help to rehydrate the pasta and bring more life back to the sauce.
Other Recipes To Try
Here are some more recipes to try and enjoy.
- 1 Pasta Pot
- 1 Large Skillet
- 1 Package Spaghetti
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 4 Large Garlic Cloves MInced
- 1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley or 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1/2 cup Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese Separate into two 1/4 cup portions one for the sauce the other for topping.
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt to the water. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until it is Al Dente.When the pasta is done remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside for the sauce.Drain the pasta when it is done.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat combine the oil, butter, garlic cloves, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about a minute allowing the garlic and crushed red pepper to open up in the heat and oils. Add the pasta water, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese and bring to a light simmer.Add the drained pasta and lemon zest. Mix all of the ingredients together until the spaghetti is well coated with the sauce.Transfer to plates and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese and parsley to your taste.Enjoy!