A lemon pasta recipe for when you dream of Italy

One of the most memorable meals of my life was eating under the lime trees at Paolina on the island of Capri. While the food there is actually pretty standard, the magic of the setting is enough for me to engrave the experience into my dreams — I can still hear laughter and clinking, with the scent of lemon Fresh and jasmine flowers blowing in the wind. Since psychologists say that the memory of food is most often evoked, it is not surprising that the taste of lemon immediately reminds me of relaxed nights in Italy. And that’s exactly the flavor profile I set out to when I developed this super-simple, lemon-lime pasta recipe this summer.

What is pasta al limone?

When creating this lemon pasta recipe, I wanted to capture the simplicity of an Italian pasta dish called pasta al limone. It’s creamy and bland, but thanks to the blend of lemons, it feels light enough for summer. Best of all, it’s so simple that you can make the sauce while the water is boiling. The lemon cream sauce gently coats each noodle and it’s one of those great recipes to keep in your pocket when a lot of people pass by but don’t have much time.

What makes this lemon pasta recipe different?

In typical style, I can’t stop at a plate of monochromatic creamy pasta — I always balance a rich pasta dish with some fresh herbs, hot peppers, and passion fruit zest. It not only enhances the flavor of the final dish but also adds much needed visual color and vibrancy. Use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. Basil, mint, parsley, and chives all work great with lemon cream pasta.

Some tips for success:

This recipe is easy to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind for the smoothest, tastiest sauce:

  1. Warm cream, peel and butter tenderness– Bring to a boil, then turn off the stove. You don’t want it to boil and freeze.
  2. When you transfer the pasta to the pan with the sauce, add some of the pasta water in it. This will not only loosen and lighten the creamy sauce, but the starch from the pasta water will help the sauce coat each strand of pasta.
  3. Gradually add parmesan while stirring. The first time I tested this recipe, I added the parmesan all at once and ended up lumpy in the final dish. You want to grate a little, shred, then grate a little more, so it’s evenly distributed and incorporated into the sauce.

Can you make this pasta without milk?

I know, I used to think it wasn’t possible: this creamy lemon pasta is made with cream and butter. However, one of our recipe testers was dairy-free and tried it with vegan butter and oat milk, and she said it was delicious! The lemon and herbs are so flavorful that the essence of the final recipe remains intact even without a milk substitute. Try it and let us know what you think.

Scroll down to find the recipe, and if you make it, be sure to leave a comment and tag us on ‘gram so we can see and share your creations!

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