After a loooong winter's nap, I'm back to share with you a most exciting recipe for spring. Creamy Lemon Pasta is the culinary world's daffodil equivalent-- bright sunny lemons, some fresh herbs, and peas or asparagus tips bring good sunny cheer. The creamy sauce works itself out in less time than the pasta needs for cooking. The whole thing from start to finish takes about 20 minutes, a very pleasant hat-tip to spring.
Heap your creamy lemon pasta into a bowl all by itself, or serve it with a salad and or a protein of your choice. Keep it simple, though, to impress yourself with luxury and comfort, all dressed in yellow.
About the Recipe
While this recipe is scaled for four servings, if you're a household of one or two you won't regret having leftovers. (It can easily be doubled to serve eight to ten, and is perfect for Easter dinner.) The ingredient list is short. Yay. There is just enough sauce to make the creamy lemon pasta velvety and lush without it being a gut bomb.
The pasta I've used here is a seasonal offering from Trader Joe's-- Lemon Torchietti--infused with lemon flavor that's perfect with this recipe. Grab some if you can find it. TJ's also often carries a lemon pappardelle which is nice, too. But this creamy lemon pasta recipe certainly doesn't require lemon-flavored pasta. Use what you have, use what you love.
Do give this a try. It is in my regular rotation, as it is so versatile and remarkably delicious.
8ouncespastatorchietti, penne, ziti, pappardelle are all good choices
8ouncesfresh or frozen peas, or asparagus cut into 1" piecesoptional
1 cupheavy cream
2 small or 1 mediumlemons, zest and juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced or pressed
½teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
black pepper to taste (be generous!)
1-2teaspoonsthyme leaves, removed from stemsoptional
2 ouncesParmesan cheese, coarsely grated(about ½ cup)
Bring a large saucepan full of water to boil on high heat. Generously salt the water, about 1 tablespoon. Cook according to package timing or until just tender. Don't overcook! About two minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas or asparagus pieces, if using.
Save about a ½ cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and vegetables and return them to their pan.
While the pasta is cooking, in a small saucepan combine the cream, the microplane lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves if using. Stirring regularly, bring to a forceful simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Pour the cream mixture and half the cheese into the pasta and vegetables.Stir in the lemon juice. If the sauce needs thinning, add some of the pasta water a tablespoon or two at a time, stirring until it is light and silky. Plate into a serving bowl or individual pasta bowls. Garnish with remaining cheese and a sprinkling of herbs, if using..
To rewarm leftovers in the microwave, sprinkle on 2-3 tablespoons water and cook at 70% power, checking a 90 second intervals, until hot.
You’re in the right place! I’m Pam Spettel, home cooking expert and guide, and I’m here to show you how to break up with cooking and hospitality anxiety, learn how to use recipes as guides rather than strict rules, and let your cooking intuition and confidence soar.
Superpower: Dreaming up recipes that work, serving them to my friends and family, and writing little stories about how cooking them well is the same as loving well.
Inspiration: Ingredients! The fresh, colorful, fragrant, local, seasonal ingredients found in the Pacific Northwest are my creative medium.
Heroes: Local food and wine producers– the people who keep me, my family, and our community nourished and happy.