Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil

August 10, 2020
Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil

You’d be surprised at the taste of this light and refreshing pasta. I served it for the first time at a family Sunday lunch and I was reprimanded that I made too little of it. It was such a hit that I was commanded to make it again for the following Sunday.

Let the dish rest briefly before serving so the flavors develop and the sauce thickens.

Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil

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By Marianne de Leon Serves: 4 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

A quick and easy pasta dish with olive oil, cream, freshness from both the zest and juice of lemons.


  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cooking liquid
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated zest and 1/4 cup juice from 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
  • table salt


Prepare the pasta:


Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat.


Add 1 tablespoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons cooking oil, and pasta to boiling water; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente.


Follow the cooking time of pasta as per package instructions.


Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta into colander. Set aside.

Make the sauce:


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.


Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes.


Whisk 1 cup of reserved pasta cooking water and 1 cup cream into pot; bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes.


Remove pot from heat, return pasta, and stir until all the spaghetti strands are coated with the sauce.


Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ½ cup cheese, salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and basil.


Cover and let pasta stand for 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water if necessary.


Serve, drizzling individual portions with oil and sprinkling with cheese.

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