Spaghetti al Limone

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Spaghetti al Limone is an easy Italian pasta dish that has the perfect amount of lemony goodness, cheese and in just 20 minutes!

lemon pasta, close up


A classic Italian flavor that you may not often associate with Italian cooking is lemon.  Lemon cookies, in pastries, lemon cakes, lemon fish, if there is a place to use lemon, we Italians will use it.  Oddly, I do not care for a lemon meringue pie.  Perhaps I have just never had a really good one.  I am picky about my meringues, and my pies.

Spaghetti al Limone

Trying to keep things light and having a pantry that is full, but nothing defrosted from the freezer I remembered the spaghetti al limone (Spaghetti with Lemon Sauce) I had loved years ago.  Most Italians that make this light and refreshing dish make the sauce in a bowl, using a no cook method.  I personally prefer the stove top to cook the garlic and help thicken the sauce.

I hope you enjoy it!  We did.  Em and I couldn’t get enough.  Mr. W doesn’t care for olive oil as much as Em and I do.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Spaghetti al Limone on a plate

Spaghetti al Limone

Donna Elick
Spaghetti al Limone
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, + 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, ground on microplane or minced
  • 2/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 2 large lemons juiced
  • Salt
  • black pepper, Fresh cracked
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally
  • In a medium pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 garlic cloves. Cook garlic until starting to brown. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan to the pan. Whisk until combined and thickened.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Add 1 cup of the pasta water to the pan with the olive oil and lemon. Whisk until thickened. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well to combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley and combine.
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 740cal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 301mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Originally published July 2011.

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  1. Seriously WHY must you do this to me?!?! I love love lemon in my food. I actually hated lemon up until a year ago when I tried chicken piccata and I have been obsessed ever since. I think you just gave me my dinner idea tonight. Looks so DELICIOUS!

  2. Donna, did you survive Haboob II? Yuck!
    I was just looking at a Giada cookbook last night and saw a lemon spaghetti recipe that intrigued me. Seeing that and your post are signs, I'm sure! Love lemon so will definitely have to give this a try. Maybe if I make my Lemon Meringue for you you'll be a convert. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Good luck with that, Lynne. Silly girl just doesn't love Lemon Meringue. However, if you make the pie for Donna, I'll happily come and take it off her hands.

    I love lemon pasta. It makes me incredibly happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Your spaghetti with lemon looks delicious! My kids and myself love lemons but not my hubby!
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for following too! You have a lovely site here. I'm following you too. Will see you again, have a lovely day!

  5. simple and delicious! look forward to learn more italian cooking here too and following you back. Cheers!

  6. I know it's not thought of as tyically Italian but, you're right, lemon is essential in Italian cooking. I scrape a bit –just a little bit — of zest in any ricotta filling, sweet or savory Makes a big difference!

  7. Ghsoh…This looks too inviting…!! Im a huge fan of Italian recipes…pastas in particular & would love try this lemony version..:)
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  8. This looks and sounds delicious! Even though you included a lot of lemon flavor, it wasn't as much as all the lemon Giada de Laurentiis adds in her fettucine alfredo! Looking forward to trying your recipe. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I've added yours to my Google Reader and look forward to reading your future Italian recipe posts!

  9. Love this recipe. I have had something like it. This looks perfect for summer — so light and lovely. Joni

  10. I was just talking to my son about dinner plans…. I said, "How about cold pasta salad?"….. he said, "How about spaghetti?"…. I think we found a compromise!!! I will make this tonight and let you know how it goes!! Thanks for the perfect timing!

  11. Sounds wonderful! I've never had a pasta like this before but I definitely want to try it!

    I love lemon meringue pie by the way! You remind me it's been a long, long time since I've made it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Can't go wrong with lemon and garlic in my book. Quick, easy and DELICIOUS ๐Ÿ™‚ The best kind of recipe!

  13. I love lemon but not a big lemon meringue pie fan either! Maybe I just haven't had a really good one? This pasta looks so light and refreshing!

  14. I absolutely love lemon and cheese in pasta! it has a way for not making you feel as bad for eating all that cheese! its just so refreshing and hearty at the same time! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for following me! Your blog is amazing…following you back!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I love lemon with pasta. I have a similar recipe to this one, but it also calls for shrimp. Delicious!

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