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Lemon Spaghetti is packed full of lemon flavor and pairs perfectly with fresh basil and parmesan. This whole dish comes together in the time it takes to boil the noodles.
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I am obsessed with pretty much any pasta, but this recipe has a special place in my heart. The lemon and basil combo is just *chef’s kiss*. It is such a great summer dish because it is so light! Plus, you don’t have to turn on the stove and heat up the house. You don’t use any heavy creams or sauces, just bright, fresh ingredients. You won’t believe how quickly it comes together. If you make the sauce while the pasta is cooking, you’re done in literally 15 minutes.
This recipe can be made with any type of pasta, not just spaghetti. The light, lemon flavor is perfect on penne pasta, rotini pasta, or farfalle pasta. The farfalle (little bows) is especially good because it gives more surface for the sauce to stick. Every bite is full of lemon flavor.
Ingredients in Lemon Spaghetti
- Olive oil
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh basil
As is, this is a great vegetarian main dish, but adding a little meat will make it a heartier meal. Chicken and shrimp are my first two choices of protein to add to pasta. If time is an issue, stir fry some shrimp or diced chicken and combine with the pasta. For a fancier dinner, top with slices of grilled chicken or some Spicy Grilled Shrimp.
If you want to keep it vegetarian, there are several vegetables that go well with lemon spaghetti. Throw in some steamed broccoli or asparagus for some extra nutrition and texture. Sautéed mushrooms and/or sliced zucchini are also delicious additions. Have you tried a vegetable that you love in this pasta? Leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!
The Magic Ingredient
All the ingredients in this dish are delicious and important. However, one ingredient takes this recipe to the next level – pasta water. Now, I know you’re thinking, “You mean that stuff I pour down the drain?” YEP. You need to start saving a little bit of that magic stuff before you drain the pasta. Have you ever had a sauce that just won’t stick to your noodles? Pasta water is the answer! It is salty and starchy and it helps the sauce thicken and cling to the noodles. I usually save about a cup of pasta water and then once I combine the sauce and noodles, I just add a little pasta water at a time until I reach the desired consistency. Try it, you will believe it when you see it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Adding lemon juice and lemon zest adds a healthy dose of Vitamin C! If you are looking to boost the fiber content of your spaghetti while maintaining the flavor, try adding some broccoli, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, or swiss chard. All of these are high in fiber and would taste delicious with lemon spaghetti.
Options to serve with your lemon spaghetti are baked or grilled chicken, baked salmon, grilled shrimp, steamed and buttered broccoli, or a fresh salad.
What Goes Well with This Dish?
Lemon Spaghetti works great as a stand alone dish. However, if you want to use it as a side dish, or just round out the meal, check out these ideas!
- Breadtwists (Pizza Factory Copycat)
- Nuts About Berries Salad
- Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Baked Salmon with Lemon
- Lemon Garlic Brussel Sprouts
How to Make Lemon Spaghetti
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest from the spaghetti.
- While pasta is cooking, zest and juice the lemons. You should get about ½ cup of lemon juice. If not, fill up the rest of the ½ cup with bottled lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
- Toss spaghetti with the lemon sauce until it is evenly coated. Add lemon zest and basil.
- Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time until the sauce clings to the pasta and thickens a little.
- Top with more fresh basil, lemon zest, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Serve hot.
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