Lemon Pasta


Yield: 4 servings

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

A few years ago on Ryan's birthday, he asked me to make a lemon pasta.  We were in Florida visiting his parents and he had picked up fresh seafood to grill. 

He thought a lemon pasta would be nice to go on the side.  I had never made it before so I just kind of whipped it up and held my breath that it would be good.  Butter, cream, cheese and lemon zest, hard to go wrong with that combo! Ryan loved it and with that, lemon pasta became a frequently requested dish in our family.  My nephew Connor, who is 5 years old, especially loves it.  We have a lemon tree at our house and whenever Connor comes over, he picks a few lemons and his mom has to make lemon pasta that night for dinner.  



  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 lemons, zested and 2 juiced

  • 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of generally salted water to a boil over high heat.

 Cook spaghetti one to two minutes less than package instructions, until al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water after the pasta has finished cooking.

 While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the lemon zest and juice. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and bring to a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

 Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat in the sauce. Stir in the cream and remaining 1/4 cup of pasta water if it is dry. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and more Parmesan.


*pasta photography by Nathan Congleton / TODAY all other photographs via Erica Hampton/Firewatch Studio