A simple creamy pasta sauce packed with flavour. A combination of sweet roast garlic, zingy lemon, pepper and parmesan makes this a truly delicious and luscious sauce. A simple and quick pasta sauce to bring together once you have roasted the garlic.
Hi! This creamy pasta sauce pretty much contains all my favourite flavors in one sauce! Roast garlic is added to foamy butter with lots of pepper, lemon and lemon zest then rounded off with cream and parmesan cheese. I have used a homemade orecchiette but it will work with absolutely any pasta shape!
A sauce like this is just pure comfort and it is worth the time to roast the garlic, I promise!
For some equally delicious recipes, try:
- Delicious Garlic Butter Pasta
- Easy Creamy Saffron Pasta Sauce
- Creamy Lemon Pasta Sauce
- 10 Minute Brown Butter Sauce for Pasta
Roast garlic - there are instructions below for roasting the garlic bulbs, it's so easy! It turns them into sweet liquid gold.
Cream - I like to use a light or single cream for pasta sauces. I find the heat and parmesan thickens it up nicely. Feel free to use a heavy cream you might justneed to add a touch more pasta water.
Lemon - I use the juice and lemon zest in this recipe. It cuts through the richness of the dish so well.
Parmesan Cheese - Finely grated with a microplane or the star side of your box grater.
- Brown the butter a touch - If I ever use butter as the base for a sauce I let it gently brown before adding anything else. It is a way to get a good flavour base going. Just don't let it burn or get to hot.
- Use fresh lemon! Please don't use bottled lemon juice, fresh is best every time and nothing else will do!
- Roasting the garlic - You want to roast the garlic so it is just starting to brown and caramelise. Keep checking it every 5 or 10 mins if it isn't done by the 45 min mark. Make sure you let them cool before squeezing the cloves out!
- If using dried pasta - undercook it slightly. I really do love letting the pasta bubble away in the sauce for a minute or two so undercook your pasta by a minute or so. If using an orecchiette or gnocchi sardi then you don't need to worry as it's pretty hard to overcook fresh shapes like that.
- Grating the parmesan - I usually say to grate your parmesan with a microplane (or the star side of a box grater). It creates much finer strands that melt into sauces much easier.
- Save some pasta water - I always transfer my pasta straight into the sauce from the pot with a spider strainer so the pasta water is left behind for me to use as I wish. You can cut out the step of using a colander and washing all that liquid gold down the sink. You never know how much you will need!
How to make this recipe
The full ingredient list, method and video tutorial is in the recipe card below.
Roasting the garlic
ONE: Preheat your oven to 200c (390f). Slice the top off, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves and drizzle with olive oil.
TWO: Wrap up in aluminium foil and roast in the oven on a tray for 40 - 50 mins.
THREE: You want the top to look brown and caramelized.
FOUR: Once it's cooked, let it cool enough to touch. Squeeze all of that delicious garlicky goodness out.
Making the sauce
ONE: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until just starting to brown. Add the black pepper.
TWO: Add the roasted garlic.
THREE: Mix into the butter as best you can, I like to use a flat whisk.
FOUR: Add the cream and mix really well so the garlic is well incorporated. It might look a touch dodgy at first but it will come together.
FIVE: Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and mix in quickly. Add the parmesan in a couple of lots, letting it melt in-between each addition. The heat should be lower, just at a very gentle simmer.
SIX: Add the cooked pasta straight in, toss and let it gently bubble away for a minute. Add a splash of pasta water if you need to loosen. Season to taste.
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!
What pasta shape is best for this sauce?
It will work with absolutely any shape, dried or fresh! I have used my homemade orecchiette because if you know me at all you'll know it is my favourite! If you want to make a slightly easier shape give my hand rolled gnocchi sardi a try. Both shapes are made with my easy semolina pasta dough.
If you feel like making some fresh egg pasta make sure you use my easy homemade pasta dough, it is completely fool proof.
If you want the full flavour experience then yes! Roasting garlic makes it so much sweeter and delicious, the extra effort is worth it I promise. If you are really short on time then just use 3 - 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped and add it to the butter with the pepper.
Creams are all called slightly different things in different countries. Here in New Zealand, for cooking I use single cream. In America that is light cream, 18% - 30% fat. Anything heavier will be too thick. You can obviously thin down the consistency with pasta water though.
I get these ones but it's really no drama if you leave them off. A little sprinkle of regular chilli flakes will be just as good, they are spicy though so be sparing if you don't like heat.
Need some other sauces to try?
If you loved this creamy roast garlic and lemon pasta sauce then check out my other recipes for more delicious options! Some suggestions? You really should make my creamy leek pasta, it's seriously epic. Another creamy option is my creamy tomato and sausage pasta. For something completely different my red pepper pesto pasta is one of my new faves.
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 adaptations you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print