This creamy lemon pasta recipe is simple and fast to make with everyday ingredients! The zesty lemon brightens the decadent parmesan sauce.
I'm so excited about this creamy lemon pasta sauce! I just love how easy and quick it is, and it's great that you don't need a ton of ingredients or time to make something so comforting. Butter, cream, a touch of garlic, parmesan, and lemon juice are always in my kitchen... it's a wonder I didn't post this recipe long before now.
A simple roux (butter & flour) is the base of this sauce, and it's what helps give the sauce a thicker consistency in only a few minutes. The sauce isn't a super thick one, but it nicely coats those tasty little tubes of pasta.
You can serve this pasta as a tasty side dish or as the main course.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I used rigatoni, but feel free to sub with whatever pasta you've got on hand. Penne would work great as well!
- I don't recommend subbing anything else for the cream in this recipe. The citrus is very likely to curdle the sauce, and heavy (or whipping) cream can withstand it due to the higher fat content.
- You could add some shrimp or cooked chicken (like rotisserie chicken) if you wanted to add a protein to this dish.
- To zest the lemon, I use my handy Microplane zester/grater (you can also grate the cheese with it, but I used my Zyliss grater). I highly recommend grating your own parm... it tastes and melts better! I always keep a wedge in my fridge.
What to serve with lemon cream pasta?
This pasta is delicious as a side dish (try serving it with my Parmesan Crusted Chicken) or as a main course. If it's your main event, I recommend serving it alongside a light salad (like with a vinaigrette dressing), or you could make breadsticks or garlic knots.
Other creamy lemon recipes to try:
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta
- Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta
- Easy Creamy Lemon Chicken
- Creamy Lemon Basil Pasta
Will you give this pasta with a lemon cream sauce a try? Questions? Let me know in the comments below!
Creamy Lemon Pasta
- 8 ounces rigatoni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 tablespoon flour
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- 1/4 cup chicken broth/veg broth or dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Garnish: fresh parsley & extra parm optional
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour in and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring fairly often.
- Add in the garlic, followed by the broth (or wine) and lemon juice + zest. Let it bubble for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the cream and cook it for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened up to your liking.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese and take the skillet off the heat. Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am generous with both).
- Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (I like to add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Garnish with more parmesan and a bit of chopped parsley if desired. Serve immediately.
- This pasta makes 4 reasonably-sized portions with plenty of sauce, but if you've got really hungry people and you're not serving it with anything else, I would double the recipe. Serves 2-4 depending on how much people eat.
- I do NOT recommend subbing the heavy cream for anything with a lower fat content (e.g. half-and-half or milk) because the lemon in the sauce is very likely to curdle it, and you'll have to add more flour to thicken the sauce.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.