CREAMY LEMON PASTA RECIPE
I’ve had dreams of this lemon pasta in my head for a while now. Creamy pasta infused with lemon, butter, and garlic. Starchy pasta water is used to make it a creamier sauce. Pasta cooking liquid is the secret!
What makes this version different is that we brown half of the butter to add another layer of flavor. Brown butter adds a toasty, deeper, richer flavor. Can you skip this part? Yes. But why would you. I learned this trick from Bon Appetit.
HOW TO BROWN BUTTER
- Melt butter. It will foam and be bubbly.
- Keep a careful watch on it. It will turn from yellow to golden brown quickly. Starting first with little brown specks. In this recipe we stop the browning by adding more butter and cream.
- LEMON – Lemon zest and lemon juice brighten this dish. Use fresh lemon juice – don’t use the stuff in a bottle. Fresh lemons give the best vivid flavor without being overly acidic.
- PASTA – Any short pasta will work in this dish but long pasta like linguine or spaghetti would work too. The pasta shape doesn’t matter. Just boil according to the package instructions.
- GARLIC – fresh garlic makes this lemon garlic pasta so good.
- BUTTER – Half of the butter is browned to add a layer of flavor. The butter sauce is delicious!
- HEAVY CREAM – For a lighter lemon pasta use half and half.
- GRATED PARMESAN – I have used fresh grated Parmesan and the regular stuff. Both works.
- RED PEPPER – Crushed red pepper adds a little kick.
- OPTIONAL – You could add red pepper flakes to add a little heat. Fresh herbs would brighten up the dish. Add some rotisserie chicken for some added protein. You could also add some Italian seasoning for some extra seasoning.
- FRESH BASIL – for garnish!
PASTA AL LIMONE
MISE EN PLACE
Mise en place means “a culinary process in which ingredients are prepared and organized (as in a restaurant kitchen) before cooking” (Wikipedia).
Basically to be successful in this recipe it really helps if you have all of the ingredients set out and ready to go. Especially in the brown butter part because if you don’t add the remaining butter after the butter has browned to bring down the temperature it could burn.
Add any variety of veggies like broccoli, zucchini or asparagus to this dish!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS
A green salad and garlic bread go great with this!
OTHER PASTA DISHES:
- One-Pot Bacon Broccoli Pasta
- Creamy Sausage and Mushroom Rigatoni
- Baked Spaghetti
- Alfredo Sauce
- One-Pot Broccoli and Sausage Pasta
- Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta
- The Best Baked Ziti
- Monterey Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Sausage and Spinach Pasta
- 1 lb short pasta (penne, rigatoni, ziti, trottole)
- 1 large lemon
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste , (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to start)
- (optional) chopped parsley for garnish
- In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Make sure to reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce.
- Zest the lemon and cut two slices off removing the seeds. Juice the rest of the lemon. Set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, in a large saucepan, melt half of the butter (4 tablespoons) over medium heat with the two slices of lemon. Brown the butter (cook for 3-4 minutes) until specks of brown appear and it smells nutty. Quickly add the garlic and red pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the slices of lemon with tongs.
- Quickly add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the 1 cup of pasta water (scooping it out if still cooking pasta).
- Simmer sauce for 5-7 minutes until it thickens slightly. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately and garnish with more Parmesan and fresh parsley if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.