This Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe is simple and incredibly DELICIOUS! The combination of lemon and garlic creates a delicate flavor profile that infuses the creamy sauce. This easy pasta dish is ready in 25 minutes and makes six full servings.
This lemon garlic pasta is perfection through its simplicity. The delightful flavor profile of lemon and garlic infuses the sauce with flavor. The sauce is delicately creamy thanks to rich heavy cream and starchy pasta water. Like in my bucatini Pomodoro, the crushed red pepper flakes offer a subtle spiciness that keeps you wanting more.
The short cooking time and simple ingredients make this lemon garlic pasta recipe perfect for an easy weeknight dinner or a weekend dish to impress your loved ones. It looks and tastes impressive - a literal joy to eat!
Add this pasta recipe to your meal rotation; you will want to make it repeatedly (trust me). Remember to serve this garlicky pasta with my easy garlic butter rolls.
Lemon Garlic Pasta
Plain pasta becomes something special when coated with garlic and lemon-infused cream sauce. What is lemon garlic sauce made of? It's a simple combination of fat (olive oil and butter), minced garlic, lemon juice, zest, and heavy cream. This simple pasta with lemon and garlic has an irresistible flavor. Here is why you will love it:
- Crushed red pepper flakes and a plentiful amount of garlic permeate olive oil with flavor and aroma.
- A simple cream sauce with butter, olive oil, and heavy cream coats the pasta without weighing it down.
- Lemon juice and zest provide bright flavors.
- This simple pasta recipe uses few ingredients and is ready in 25 minutes, making it a perfect meal for any night of the week.
- An economical, customizable pasta dish that makes six total servings.
- Fettuccini Pasta
- Olive Oil
- Garlic (minced)
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Salted Butter
- Lemon Zest and Juice (fresh)
- Starchy Pasta Water
- Parmesan Cheese (grated)
- Fresh Parsley (chopped)
See the recipe card for ingredient quantities.
- Fettuccini - Linguine, Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Bucatini
- Parmesan Cheese - Pecorino Romano
- Add cooked, sliced chicken, Italian sausage, or buttery shrimp for a complete meal.
- Kick up the red pepper flakes to ½ teaspoon for an addictive spiciness.
- Stir vegetables into the pasta, like baby spinach.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, reserving ⅓ cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic has permeated the olive oil, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute.
- Next, add the heavy cream, lemon zest, and butter. Stir until combined. Pour in the ½ cup of parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
- Transfer the cooked pasta into the sauce and the starchy pasta water and lemon juice. Toss until the noodles are coated in the sauce. Serve immediately with additional parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Reheating Leftover Pasta
I have tried two methods to reheat this pasta dish. Each method requires a small amount of heavy cream or pasta water to rehydrate the pasta and make it creamy.
- On the stovetop: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer the leftover pasta. Pour a tablespoon of heavy cream (and/or pasta water if you have extra) over the pasta, and toss to combine. Cook the pasta until hot, stirring frequently.
- In the microwave: Add a teaspoon of heavy cream (or pasta water) to the pasta, and stir to combine. Heat pasta accordingly until hot.
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Pasta with Spinach
- 10-Minute Hearts of Palm Pasta
- Easy Beef Meatball Recipe
- Bucatini Cacio e Pepe
- Use fresh lemon juice and zest - be sure to zest the lemons before juicing them.
- Reserve extra starchy pasta water to use for reheating leftovers the following day. Transfer the pasta water to a jar or an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Transfer cooled pasta to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Yes, this pasta recipe is vegetarian. It is not vegan because of the use of dairy (heavy cream and butter).
Easy Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 16 oz fettuccine pasta
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated; plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup starchy pasta water reserved from cooking pasta (before draining)
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to package instructions for al dente. *Reserve a ⅓ cup of starchy pasta water before draining the pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add all the minced garlic and cook, occasionally stirring, until the garlic has infused the oil, about 8-10 minutes. *Keep a close eye on the garlic as it cooks to avoid browning or burning. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in the heavy cream, butter, and lemon zest. Stir until everything has been incorporated and the butter is melted. Next, stir in the ½ cup of parmesan cheese until melted.
- Reduce the heat to low. Transfer the cooked pasta to the large skillet along with the lemon juice and starchy pasta water. Toss until the noodles are coated in the sauce. (This is best done with tongs). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Serve the pasta immediately. Garnish each serving with grated parmesan and fresh chopped parsley.