This lemony pasta dish with a bright, fresh flavor is ideal for busy weeknights. The Parmesan adds welcome saltiness and notes of umami. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, or grilled shrimp to up the protein but a handful of arugula works perfectly, too. The sauce will appear to have too much liquid at first, but the rest time will help it to thicken.–Rebecca White


We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.


This recipe is lemon forward. The amount of juice extracted from lemons depends on their size. Medium-sized, ripe lemons will give you an ample amount of juice. But if you want to get the most juice out of those puckery orbs, here are a few tricks.

First, warm ’em up. Let your lemons (whole–don’t cut them yet) sit in a bowl of hot water for a spell or pop them into the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. Let cool, then cut and juice. You can also give lemons a roll on the counter with a little pressure to loosen up the insides, this should help you squeeze out more liquid. Finally, use a fork to pierce the flesh once you’ve halved the lemon. This loosens up the membranes and allows more juice to escape.

Use a mesh strainer to ensure that seeds are separated from the juice.

☞ Like pasta recipes? Try these:

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If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A white plate with a swirl of One-Pan Lemon Parmesan Linguine, with creamy sauce, a fork and 2 slices of lemon.

One-Pan Lemon Parmesan Linguine

5 / 3 votes
This decadent one-pan lemon Parmesan linguine is quick to cook and quick to please. The recipe uses all parts of the lemon to really make the pasta shine. To add extra flavor, toss in chopped arugula and fresh basil at the end of cooking.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories759 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • Peel of 2 lemons, preferably organic, cut into 6 strips of 1/2-by-2-inch (13-by-50-mm)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Juice of 2 to 3 lemons, depending on tartness desired (1/4 to 1/2 cup | 60 to 120 ml)
  • Zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic (about 2 tablespoons), divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 4 teaspoons fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, or parsley, chopped (optional)


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add water, lemon strips, pepper, salt, and linguine. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. As the cooking liquid is heating, if needed, push the softening noodles into the liquid until they are all fully submerged.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and cook pasta at a gentle boil for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Add cream and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken and the pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn off heat. With a slotted spoon or tongs, remove lemon peel strips. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to melt.
  • Add lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and Parmesan. Stir to combine. Let cool for 5 to 8 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • Divvy linguine among serving bowls and top with remaining lemon zest, herbs if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.
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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 759 kcalCarbohydrates: 88 gProtein: 25 gFat: 34 gSaturated Fat: 20 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 102 mgSodium: 1025 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Rebecca White. Photo © 2021 Rebecca White. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

What an ideal summer dinner! Everyone is famished from a day outside, no one wants to heat up the kitchen. Most of the work here is in the prep; once it hits the stove things move fairly quickly. The more lemon, the better–I used two large lemons and got just under 1/2 cup of juice, but I could have added a third and been happy. And don’t skimp on the salt, as it really brings out the lemon flavor.

I added arugula and basil to my finished dish–the arugula was fine, but the basil did a better job standing out against all that creamy lemony goodness. Next time, I’d be tempted to add capers or artichoke hearts or toss a handful of spinach in while the sauce cools.

The one-pan lemon Parmesan linguine recipe intrigued me because of the technique used. Being a restaurant chef that specializes in Italian cuisine, I’m used to getting the pasta al-dente in its own pot, building the sauce in a separate pan, adding the pasta to the sauce, simmering everything together, and finishing the dish. However, I was interested to see how much flavor would develop in the pasta noodle and sauce with the technique used in this recipe.

Overall, this dish came out great. It was creamy with just enough tartness from the lemon. In order to add a little color, I chiffonade some basil and garnished the dish with it at the end. In addition to color, the basil added a subtle freshness that balanced the dish well. To make this dish really sing, I paired it with a fruity Sauvignon Blanc. The subtle fruity flavor of the white wine allowed the different flavors to dance in harmony.

When making the dish, I was doubtful of how the sauce would come together, but the starchiness of the pasta along with the heavy cream near the end made for a velvety, creamy sauce. By the end of the recipe instructions, the sauce soaked up into the pasta. With this in mind, I personally would have liked there to be more sauce for dipping a nice crostini or piece of fresh bread.

I love all things lemon, so, there was no question. I really had to make this one-pan lemon Parmesan linguine recipe. With our very first bites, we were transported back to the Amalfi Coast. And what a glorious time we had. We could see the spectacular Mediterranean. We could feel the evening breeze. I found that with every bite, I was saying, “oh my goodness, I can’t believe how delicious this is.”

I suggest that anyone who wants to make this pasta dish, and you should really want to, read everything a couple of times before attempting to make this. Pay attention to all of the notes. Yes, the pasta doesn’t seem that it wants to all fit in the pan, but, it will. And, the pasta will absorb all of the liquid. You may need to push it down into the pan with the sauce, but it does work. You’ll be rewarded with a spectacular dish.

A one-pan dish is always exciting, but this dish merits special attention because it’s creamy, salty, cheesy, tangy, revisit-in-the-middle-of-the-night pasta.

Honestly? I was skeptical that the initial amount of liquid, cream, plus lemon juice would absorb enough to become anything resembling a sauce, but I stand corrected. It really, really does, and it’s good. I suggest adding a spray of pepper flakes into the butter at the beginning, and the advised basil, and maybe marjoram or chives or all three at the end. We drank a dry Riesling (Ravines, from the Finger Lakes, NY, which wasn’t dry but was good) and it enhanced the lemon peel’s flavor and upped the butter. With asparagus, it served more than four—plenty of leftovers.

The one-pan lemon Parmesan linguine is definitely a lemon-forward recipe and all the better for it!  The sharp sourness of the lemon contrasted well with the mellow cheesy creaminess of the sauce. Adding the basil at the end is a really nice touch.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Carlin, what a fantastic way to start the morning! Dinner then breakfast sounds perfect to us.