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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Pasta

Lemon Parmesan Pasta

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This creamy Lemon Parmesan Pasta recipe is a quick and simple pasta dish! Tender cooked pasta tossed in a slightly spicy, lemon, garlic and parmesan cream sauce. Serves 2 main dishes or as 4 sides.
Course Mains & Entrees
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy recipe, lemon, pasta, quick dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 837
Author Laurie McNamara


  • 8 ounces gemelli pasta plus palmful of sea salt for water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (large) minced
  • 1 pinch kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest about 1 good size lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley minced


  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. I do about a palmful of fine sea salt. Once boiling, add in pasta and cook following the package directions.
    Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the cooked pasta.
  • Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet, add olive oil with unsalted butter and heat over medium-low.
  • Once melted, add the onion, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and sauté until soft and translucent. 
  • when the onions are soft, add in red pepper flakes and lemon zest.
  • Next pour in the lemon juice and stir while pouring in the heavy cream. Simmer over medium-low to low heat while waiting on the pasta to finish cooking.
  • Add the cooked pasta and grate in the parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt if desired.
  • Add a few splashes of pasta water to thin or loosen up the sauce as needed. Serve immediately.
  • Serve in shallow bowls topped with more parmesan cheese and minced parsley.


Serving: 377g | Calories: 837kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1494IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 2mg