Lemon Spaghetti

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
This pasta recipe is a prime example of less is more. Fresh lemon juice and finely grated zest are quickly tossed with hot spaghetti, butter, olive oil and pasta cooking water to make a bright and velvety sauce. We finish it with Parmesan and black pepper for a simple, comforting weeknight dinner.



  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook as the label directs for al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the olive oil and lemon zest and juice in a large skillet. When you are about to drain the spaghetti, turn the heat under the skillet to medium. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain the spaghetti and transfer to the skillet. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and toss to combine. Add the butter and cook, tossing quickly, until the sauce glazes the spaghetti, about 30 seconds; add more cooking water a few tablespoons at a time if the spaghetti seems dry. Add the parmesan and toss to melt; season with salt.
  3. Divide the spaghetti among bowls. Top generously with more Parmesan and coarse pepper.