lemon & cheese pasta

March 2, 2011
the stars of the dish
One of the best meals I remember having in Florence was the most simple. It blew my mind. It was literally pasta, olive oil, lemon zest, and parmesan. On several occasions I've tried to make it without getting the perfect consistency that I wanted, but thanks to the glories of the internet I think I've found the best recipe. The best part? You can add as much or as little cheese or lemon to make the dish perfect for you. (For the record, I like a lot of both).
olio e aceto
perfect pasta
fresh garlic asiago bread
monstrous portions
lemon and cheese pasta
adapted from Deb

1 pound spaghetti or long noodle pasta
3 medium lemons
for 1 tablespoon of lemon zest and 1/2 cup of juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 - 1 cup grated pecorino or parmesan
1/2 - 1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook pasta in salted water until al dente (12-15 minutes). While pasta is cooking, zest and juice lemons.

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and drain pasta.* In the same pot, bring 1 cup pasta water, olive oil, heavy cream and zest to a boil on medium high heat. Slightly whisk to mix. Add pasta and reduce to medium or medium-low heat. Add cheese and 1/4 cup juice to the pasta and toss together with tongs (be sure to continually lift pasta and mix so it doesn't stick together and mix thoroughly). If you'd like add more water and/or lemon juice to thin out the sauce or add more lemony goodness. Toss in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy with bread and chianti.

*I forgot to reserve any pasta water, but I found that regular, hot tap water with some salt was a good substitution.


  1. Sounds good! Light and fresh.. What, no garlic?

  2. i warned myself before coming to your blog that i would be starving upon leaving. i was right.

  3. looks and sounds delicious! i love the simpleness of it. it's the dishes with the fewest ingredients that are always the best! i'm bookmarking this...

  4. that is my perfect pasta dish! i am definitely going to have to try this!


  5. that looks DELICIOUS. You can't go wrong with anything lemon flavored :)

  6. I can't wait to try this...I've flagged it in Reader so I won't forget.

  7. Oh, my goodness. Yum! I'm so making this when I get back to Texas. :D Thanks for posting!


  8. That looks delicious Celeste! i definitely need to visit you one day :)

    great photos as always, have a great week!

  9. How can you possible find a better meal?! I can already taste the ingredients. Thanks for posting this recipe I will be sure to let you know when I try it! Beautiful pictures btw!

  10. i love simple dinners like this. it looks absolutely delicious and exactly what i want to eat right. now! :)

  11. absolutely delicious!! simple and amazing, can't wait to try!

  12. This looks absolutely delicious! Can't wait to try it out myself, thanks for sharing the recipe.

  13. lemon, cheese, pasta. you just said my three favorite food words!

  14. oh.my.word that looks divine!