Pasta al Limone
Looking for a way to brighten up pasta night? Pasta al Limone is a super simple pasta recipe made with just 6 ingredients! Creamy, buttery, lemony pasta is the perfect Meatless Monday meal or serve it up as a brilliant side dish to the main event. Pay homage to the sweet and tangy brilliance of your favorite citrus fruit with this easy weeknight pasta recipe.
What Is Pasta Al Limone?
Pasta al Limone is a classic Italian pasta dish made with a long cut of pasta—typically spaghetti—fresh lemons, heavy cream, butter or olive oil, grated Parmigiano and ground black pepper. True to the principles of time-honored Italian cuisine, this lemon pasta recipe is simple and made with just a few fresh, high quality ingredients. The beauty is in its simplicity and we just know you’re going to love it as much as we do.
Where Does Pasta Al Limone Originate From?
Pasta al Limone has all the hallmarks of a Southern Italian recipe. It originated in on the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi Coast, places in Campania known for their lemons. This Southern Italian dish is especially popular during the summer months. While there are many variations depending on where you are in Italy, most versions stick with the basics of fresh lemon, olive oil or butter, fresh herbs, black pepper, heavy cream or white wine… and a long cut of pasta, of course.
Why You’ll Love Pasta Al Limone
Pasta al Limone is easy to love. It is a classic Italian pasta recipe that features just a few fresh and simple ingredients that come together in the most delicious way. Pasta al Limone is an exquisite example of authentic Italian cuisine. No giant list of ingredients, no overdoing it. This lemon pasta recipe is super simple to make, requiring only 6 ingredients. This makes it the perfect weeknight pasta meal.
The Ingredients You Will Need To Make Pasta Al Limone
Fresh Lemons: You will use both the zest and the juice of fresh lemons—the heart of this iconic lemony pasta dish.
Bucatini: Any long cut of pasta will do, but we love Bucatini for its thick noodle shape with a hollow middle for sucking up sauces.
Heavy Cream: The cream adds a richness and subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with the bright and tangy lemon flavor.
Butter: The butter along with the cream come together to create a velvety texture and rich flavor.
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: Grated Parmigiano adds just the right amount of salty, nutty flavor to this pasta dish.
Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is going to give your final dish the extra little zip it needs to round off its creamy, buttery, lemony flavors.
How To Make Pasta Al Limone
1. Zest and juice the lemons.
Remove long strips of lemon peel from one lemon and save for finishing the pasta. Juice this lemon into a small bowl. Using a Microplane, zest the second lemon.
2. Create the sauce.
Heat the cream and lemon zest. Simmer together and add the butter. The sauce will become creamy at this stage.
3. Cook the pasta.
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
4. Combine the pasta and sauce.
Remove the cooked (al dente) pasta with tongs and add directly to the saucepan. Cook together to marry the flavors.
Serve the pasta topped with lemon peel strips and a pinch of black pepper.
Top Serving And Storage Tips
To store leftovers, place pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Use a splash of milk or cream to reheat.
Pasta Al Limone: FAQ
What Do I Serve With Pasta Al Limone?
So many dishes and flavors complement this beloved pasta dish. If you’d like to add a meat or protein, chicken is a great choice. Shrimp or seafood are also great complements to the creamy lemony flavor. To make it a meal, we love it with a simple leafy green salad. Roasted or sautéed veggies are also a tasty side to Pasta al Limone. You can never go wrong with crusty Italian bread.
Can I Use Regular Water Instead Of Pasta Water To Emulsify The Sauce?
No, you cannot replace regular water with the hot starchy pasta water to emulsify the sauce.
Can I Use Linguine Pasta Instead Of Bucatini?
Yes, you can use any cut of pasta for Pasta al Limone. We recommend a long cut like linguine.
Can I Use Spaghetti Pasta Instead Of Bucatini?
Yes, you can use any cut of pasta for Pasta al Limone. We recommend a long cut like spaghetti.
Can I Use Fettuccine Pasta Instead Of Bucatini?
Yes, you can use any cut of pasta for Pasta al Limone. We recommend a long cut like fettuccine.
Pasta Al Limone
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove long strips of peel from one lemon and set aside. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a small mixing bowl. Using a Microplane, zest the second lemon.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the cream and zest from the second lemon on a medium setting. Whisk continuously until it begins to simmer. Add in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Simmer and stir until combined and the sauce becomes creamy.
- Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Once cooked, remove the pasta from the water using tongs and add it directly into the saucepan. Stir to combine. Cook together for 2 more minutes to marry flavors.
- Add grated Parmigiano and lemon juice to the pasta.
- Serve topped with reserved strips of lemon peel and a pinch of black pepper.
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