Every home cook will absolutely love this Simple Parmesan Pasta with Lemon recipe with an easy and creamy no-cook sauce!
This dish is so deceptively delicious. The fresh, bright flavors of parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and real lemon are whisked into a heavy cream base and then tossed with hot spaghetti. Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a simple side or main dish is ready to serve, all in less than 30 minutes. And this recipe can be easily customized adding assorted meats or veggies if desired. It’s a perfectly quick, simple and delicious side dish that goes with almost anything.
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Best Spaghetti Recipe
- From start to finish, parmesan lemon pasta takes only about 25 minutes to prepare. Easy on the budget, the clock, and clean-up.
- Serve as a healthy, meatless dinner or as a chilled pasta dish for lunch.
- For a quick meal, serve parmesan pasta with Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Whole Fish, or keep with the meatless meal theme and serve with a side of Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, Crispy Brussels Sprouts or some Smoked Tomatoes. For a light but elegant lunch, serve chilled pasta with a side of Ricotta Toast.
Ingredients & Variations
CHEESE SAUCE: Heavy cream, Dijon, parmesan cheese, and a pop of fresh lemon juice makes the easiest cheese sauce ever! Stir in some feta or bleu cheese crumbles to amp up the tangy flavor. Add a dash of red pepper flakes for color and a spicy bite. Or swirl in a jar of basil pesto or olive tapenade into the creamy sauce before adding the remaining ingredients. If using pesto or tapenade, omit the salt.
PASTA: Any pasta will do! For a light, chilled dish, use angel hair pasta or small shells or elbow macaroni. For a hot, heartier dish, use bowtie pasta, penne, or rigatoni.
VEGGIE ADD-INS: Choose your favorite veggie add-ins or a frozen veggie medley! Easy add-ins are spinach, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, peas, artichoke, or fresh cherry tomatoes.
PROTEIN ADD-INS: Parmesan pasta is a great vehicle for using up leftover meat! Chicken and turkey can be added to the dish, as can bacon bits or bay shrimp. Make it a fancy meal by topping pasta with a Smoked Salmon fillet.
How to Make Parmesan Lemon Pasta
Deceptively delicious, lemon parmesan pasta is adaptable for meat and veggie add-ins, too!
- Prepare pasta (as per the recipe below).
- Combine sauce ingredients.
- Add pasta and some pasta water.
- Add garnishes.
Tips for a Simple Creamy Sauce
For an uber creamy pasta sauce, mix all of the ingredients together and pulse them in a personal blender or food processor. Add pasta and pasta water, if desired.
Other Easy Side Dishes!
- Stuffed Pasta Shells – surprisingly easy to make.
- Macaroni And Cheese – quick instant pot recipe
- Orzo Pasta Salad – cool and refreshing.
- Lemon Vinaigrette Potato Salad – potluck perfect.
- Parmesan Asparagus Pasta – extra flavorful side dish.
Simple Parmesan Pasta with Lemon
- 6 ounces spaghetti or other pasta, cooked and drained per package directions, reserve 1 cup cooking water)
- 3 cups freshly shredded Parmesan cheese or Pecorino, plus more for serving if desired
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 lemon zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water may not use entire amount
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- Cook pasta to al dente per package directions (reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water).
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add cheese, cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, salt, and pepper and mix to combine.
- Combine pasta and sauce, and toss to mix through. Add about ¼ cup pasta cooking water and toss. Add additional pasta cooking water until sauce reaches desired consistency.
- Serve garnished with parsley and additional parmesan if desired.
- Blend sauce ingredients in a blender for an extra creamy sauce.
- Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 2 days.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.