This super easy and delicious lemon butter pasta will be on your table in no time. A simple weeknight pasta with only a few staple ingredients. The combination of lemon and butter really is magic and with garlic, a splash of pasta water and fresh rocket, it's magic! This 10 minute lemon butter pasta will become a go to I'm sure of it.
Hi! I am writing up this ridiculously easy lemon butter pasta sauce as it's just one of those quick simple dishes we all need in our repertoire. This is inspired by the Stanley Tucci series, Searching for Italy. Have you seen it?
In the second season there is an episode where this dish is cooked. A few simple ingredients combined for an absolutely delicious plate of food, this is my version inspired by that episode.
This 10 minute lemon butter pasta is what Italian cooking is all about, a few simple ingredients creating magic. The lemon juice and zest create a fresh zingy foil to the rich butter and the rocket (arugula for some of you!) adds the perfect finishing touch.
You could add some chilli flakes or fresh chilli if you like but I just go for some black pepper to keep it easy. In the series they use beautiful big Amalfi lemons, I am so jealous I can't get them here, so at some stage I will have to fly to Italy to make this dish.
Ingredients for lemon butter pasta
Garlic - Fresh always! Very finely sliced not minced.
Butter - I tend to use unsalted as I like to be able to season sauces myself. Use whatever you prefer, if you use salted then you probably won't need to add any salt. Just season to taste, as always.
Lemon - You will use the juice and zest of one medium lemon. That should give you 2 tbsp of juice and about 1 tbsp of zest.
Rocket - You might know it as arugula. It has a fresh peppery taste and adds such a lovely element to this dish, it really freshens everything up.
What pasta shape is best for this sauce?
Anything! I have used a fusilli which is such a fun curly shape. It really will work with anything you love. It's such a quick sauce so you could spend some time making some fresh pasta? Use my trusty homemade pasta dough to make some homemade pappardelle or a really simple hand rolled shape like gnocchi sardi would be delicious too.
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it.
I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY.
Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
Tips for the best lemon butter pasta
- Get all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. This is quite a quick sauce so it's great to spend a little extra time getting everything measured out and ready.
- Timing! I try and time the cooking of my pasta so that when my sauce is ready I can transfer my cooked pasta straight into the sauce. It takes some practice. This sauce is really quick so depending what pasta you are using you'll probably start the sauce once the pasta is already cooking.
- Keep an eye on the heat. You never want it to be bubbling like crazy, just a gentle simmer.
- Heat your plates! I ALWAYS heat my plates/bowls when making pasta. Pasta cools down so quickly. If I remember, I turn my oven on really low and pop the bowls in. For a last minute option, put a little bit of water in each one, stack them up and microwave for a minute or two. Empty the water out then dry. If you are having people over heated plates makes a big difference.
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this 10 minute lemon butter pasta then definitely try my easy white wine and butter pasta sauce. For something completely different but equally delicious you have to make my creamy nduja pasta sauce or my personal favourite cacio e pepe with olives and basil. The recipe that is my pride and joy is my white pork ragu, it really is the most delicious ragu you'll ever make.
It's simple. If you use unsalted you'll have to season it yourself and if you use salted you'll have no control over it. I personally use unsalted so I can control the seasoning myself as i find some salted butters overly salty. Use whatever you have, it will be delicious no matter what.
Definitely! Add ¼ - ½ tsp or so of chilli flakes before you add the pasta water to the olive oil. Let them sizzle for 30 seconds before adding water.
Timing sauces and pasta cooking can be tricky. You'll work it out after the first time you make it. If you want to cook the pasta first make sure you reserve some of the pasta water first. Also add a knob of butter to the cooked pasta, it stops it overcooking.
Want some more butter sauce ideas?
I won't try and hide the fact that a butter based sauce is my favourite thing. You must read my guide to the best butter sauce for pasta! Butter sauces are just so easy and versatile, that's what I love most. If you have some pasta and butter, you have a meal. Add whatever you have available be it some herbs, capers or some crunchy walnuts. Get creative! Try out these ones below!
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print