I adore this Lemon Spaghetti recipe, not only because it’s really good, but also because it comes together in a snap. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Serve it up with a green salad and some nice crusty bread and your world is complete – for at least an hour or so.
Lemon Spaghetti is a gorgeously simple dish. It’s spaghetti noodles tossed in a creamy sauce flavored with lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan, garlic, and a hit of crushed red pepper.
Yes, it is unmistakenly lemony – so if you’re not a fan of lemon, I’d steer clear – but the salt, garlic, and crushed red pepper really round it out.
I love this dish as a main (my resident carnivore even enjoys it) for lunch or dinner, but it would work equally well as a side, too. I think it’s perfect topped with parsley, but some strips of fresh basil instead (or in addition) would be terrific.
- 1/2 pound spaghetti (usually half a box)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large lemon (zested and juiced (approx. 1 tablespoon zest and 2 teaspoons juice))
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Small handful of parsley (chopped)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Add salt to the water if desired.
- Heat a large deep skillet over low heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about five minutes, then add 3/4 cup of the water the pasta has been boiling in, along with the lemon juice and the heavy cream, to the skillet. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken a bit. Add the lemon zest and half of the grated Parmesan cheese to the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat and, using tongs, toss the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two until the pasta begins to soak the sauce.
- Top with the remaining cheese and parsley. Serve.
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Parmesan is not vegetarian unfortunately!
There actually are vegetarian Parmesan cheeses out there. I usually buy mine at Whole Foods.
Do you need the heavy cream?