Spaghetti al Limone will please all fans of mac’n’cheese and Cacio e Pepe! This easy, 5-ingredient recipe is rich, zesty, and utterly satisfying to eat. Dig in as is, or fold in veggies and/or proteins for a heartier dish!
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When I’m pressed for time on weeknights (i.e., MOST NIGHTS), the first thing I grab onto to assemble a quick and easy dinner is dry pasta. In my pantry, there’s an entire shelf dedicated to dry pasta in all shapes and sizes, and this is because … yes, I constantly impulse-buy new pasta shapes when I visit my local Italian grocery store, and yes, pasta can be transformed into an infinite number of meals.
Typically, in a last-minute pasta dish, I’ll throw in “everything but the kitchen sink”: jarred pesto or tomato sauce, some protein I have on hand, and some chopped-up veggies. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano (which makes everything taste better)—and you’re done!
Over the years, though, I’ve adopted a collection of actual, classic Italian pasta recipes, which I’ve discovered are just as quick and easy to make as an improvised one, provided I keep the necessary ingredients on hand. And I do, now, always have ingredients to make my family’s go-to pasta dishes, because I make them so often and love them so much! Bucatini all’Amatriciana is our favorite tomato-based pasta dish (I keep chopped up and portioned out guanciale in the freezer so I can always make the dish in a pinch), and Cacio e Pepe pasta has easily been crowned “best cheesy pasta” at my house.
But if I had to name my very favorite weeknight pasta dish, it would be this irresistible Spaghetti al Limone. Creamy lemon spaghetti is everything everyone loves about pasta: it’s rich, creamy, zesty, and utterly satisfying to eat. What I love most about this recipe is you can make and eat it as is, but it’s also a blank canvas for last-minute additions: I usually throw in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach and let them wilt for a minute right before serving. If I have roasted chicken on hand, I’ll dice and fold it in. When I have enough time for an extra step, I’ll fry some shrimps and add them to the dish, too. I’ve even topped this humble Spaghetti al Limone with luxurious lobster meat and served it at a dinner party!
The basic recipe for Spaghetti al Limone requires only five ingredients—and that includes the pasta! The creamy lemon sauce is easier to make than Cacio e Pepe, which requires a bit of practice to achieve. Creamy lemon spaghetti is literally a foolproof recipe. Plus, another incredibly handy thing to know is that it reheats wonderfully! The recipe makes four generous servings, but if you have leftovers, no worries: simply throw refrigerated leftovers back into a pan with a splash of water, reheat over low heat, and watch the wonderful sauce return to its glossy glory in just minutes.
In other words, Spaghetti al Limone deserves a spot in your go-to weeknight recipe list. But make sure to serve it on special nights, too, because it quite simply tastes glorious!
A quick note about the origins of this recipe: My Spaghetti al Limone recipe is adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, but over the years, I’ve made it my own by considerably reducing the amounts of heavy cream and butter used in the original recipe. I found that by using more pasta cooking water and adding a bit more Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the sauce, you end up with a sauce that’s just as irresistibly silky and rich, but is much lighter on your system. Always happy to create better-for-you weeknight dinner options for you! 🙌🏼
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