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Lemon pasta

Years ago, we visited Sardinia and we enjoyed the most wonderful lemon pasta dish. When I asked the chef for the recipe, like all Italian recipes, they just listed the ingredients but gave no method: simply lemon, butter, and cheese. So here is my recreation, it’s fairly simple and straightforward for any level of cook.

For the pasta, I like to use a fresh thin tagliatelle or angel hair spaghetti. It’s a very delicate sauce, and I like a thin delicate pasta to go with it. It also happens to cook faster. The package I used cooked in five minutes. You can throw this meal together in about 10 minutes easily.

My recipe calls for a stick of butter. It may seem like a lot to use an entire stick of butter, but it’s absolutely necessary and I encourage you not to replace it with olive oil. I could talk about butter for pages, but I will refrain from that and mention I prefer salted butter. I don’t ever seem to need to add extra salt to my cooking.

I timed it to go with sous vide salmon for added protein. That is beyond easy, 49C for 45m.


Two handfuls of baby spinach

1 stick salted butter

1 lemon

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 - 1/2 cup cream 350 g fresh tagliatelle or angel hair pasta

Coarsely ground black pepper



Small saucepan Large saucepan


Heat the water for the pasta and add salt. Don’t cook the pasta yet. It only takes five minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the stick of butter.

While the butter is melting, zest the lemon with a microplane. Now cut the lemon in half and and juice it. Add 3/4 of the zest and all the juice to the melted butter. Add the cheese, cream, and stir. Add about a teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper. Now taste it and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now cook the pasta. Taste it so it’s the right bite for you, I like mine al dente. Pull out about half a cup of the pasta water.

Now drain the pasta.

Add the drained pasta back into the large saucepan, and add the butter lemon cream sauce. Tear up the baby spinach into the pasta, stir, and it will wilt naturally from the heat.

Now is the time you might want to add a little bit of the reserved pasta water. Adjust to your consistency that you like your sauce.

Have a taste and adjust with more coarsely ground black pepper and extra cheese.

Now it’s time to plate. I like to twirl my pasta in the saucepan with a giant serving fork before I slide it onto the plate.

When you plate it, you can sprinkle on some additional lemon zest for colour and more black pepper.

Let me know if you make this recipe, and feel free to tag me on Instagram @wherelizis


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