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lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

Lemon Garlic Pasta

Liz Quick
This buttery, lemony garlic pasta dish is one the whole family will love and you’ll love that it all comes together in one large skillet and with a few quality ingredients.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
0 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 stock pot


  • 16 ounces spaghetti
  • ¾ cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablepoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional for a bit of heat


  • In a large stock pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Toss in a few tablespoons of salt to season the water. Add the pasta and cook until al denté. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta water when done. Drain the pasta.

Pasta Sauce

  • In a large saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat and add to it the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. Stir and allow the garlic to get golden- about 1 minute.
  • If using the crushed red pepper flakes, add them now.
  • Slowly add the pasta water while stirring. Add in the cream slowly while stirring. Once combined, toss in the parmesan cheese and stir until it softens and begins to melt.
  • Turn the heat down and add in the pasta. Toss carefully until the pasta is coated.
  • Add in more pasta water until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Toss the fresh parsley on top of the pasta and serve immediately.


As you cook the pasta, the starch in the pasta cooks out into the water.
This starchy water is perfect for holding the cooked pasta and the sauce together, especially in buttery types of pasta sauces.
Keyword lemon garlic pasta