Creamy Zesty Lemon Spaghetti

October 25 2019

This week's new quick and easy creamy zesty lemon spaghetti recipe is my take on the traditional 'Spaghetti al Limone'. I created this recipe to feature in a pasta scene I styled for this year's Pasta World Championships in Paris (pictured below). It's always exciting to see your work printed in poster form! ☺ It's also World Pasta Day today! So to celebrate, of course, we're eating pasta. 

This recipe uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand, spaghetti, butter, lemon zest, black pepper and parmesan. Super simple and so delicious! Perfect to serve with a big crunchy green salad. YUM. The recipe comes together very quickly, so you'll want to have all the elements ready to go to throw them all in and stir, stir, stir!

The key to the perfect creamy pasta sauce is to remove the pan from the heat and then add the finely grated parmesan and the starchy pasta water. This will emulsify and create a smooth and creamy sauce. Initially, the sauce will look quite runny, but while it sits for a few minutes and cools slightly it will thicken. I like to save some of the reserved pasta water right up until serving time incase I misjudge the amount of pasta water needed and the cooling sauce thickens a little too much. In this case, I'll add a little more pasta water to thin it out.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy pasta recipe and please let me know if you have any questions.




Traces of Colour  |  Gather & Feast

Creamy Zesty Lemon Spaghetti  |  Gather & Feast


15 minutes
  • 400g Barilla spaghetti No.5
  • 80g salted butter
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 120g fresh Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, very finely grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt


  1. Boil a large pot of water and add a generous amount of salt (roughly 1-2 tbs).
  2. Add the spaghetti and cook for 7 minutes.
  3. While the spaghetti is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat along with the fresh lemon zest. Grate the zest directly into the pan so the oils and flavour from the lemon rind are all captured.
  4. Once the spaghetti is cooked, reserve about 2 cups of the starchy pasta water. This is very important as its a key element to the sauce.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the butter and zest mixture in the saucepan while still on the heat, then stir to combine for about 30 seconds while the pan is still on the heat.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, add the finely grated parmesan, a pinch of sea salt, and about ½ cup of pasta water.
  7. Stir quickly to create a smooth creamy sauce, adding extra pasta water as needed. You want the sauce to be quite loose and runny because as it cools it will thicken.
  8. Taste for salt and add as needed.
  9. Serve immediately and top with generous amounts of freshly cracked black pepper.
  10. Serve the spaghetti alongside a crunchy green leafy salad. Enjoy!

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Hi there!

I’m Ashley, welcome to Gather & Feast. A site full of delicious food, simple wholesome recipes & the occasional sweet treat. x  

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