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Pasta al Limone: Explained

This is one of those classic Italian pasta dishes. That perfect balance of a lot of fat, a lot of acid, and a lot of salt (in the form of parmigiana). This should really only take you 20ish minutes from start to finish, and the end result is impeccably delicious. Enjoy.



  • 16 oz pasta (linguine or spaghetti will do)

  • 2 lemons

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter

  • 1 cup finely grated parmigiana reggiana

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Begin boiling water to cook your pasta, and heavily salt the water.

  2. With a vegetable peeler, peel off two strips of lemon skin from one of the lemons, and thinly slice into slivers. Reserve later for garnish.

  3. Zest the rest of the lemon, along with the other whole lemon into your sauce pot (does not need to be huge, 8-9 qts. is fine). Juice both lemons into a separate bowl, and set aside.

  4. Put pasta into boiling water, stirring often, and cook to very al dente (there will be some cooking that takes place in the sauce pot).

  5. Add heavy cream to your sauce pot with the lemon zest, turn to medium high heat and wait until the cream starts to simmer. Reduce to medium-low heat and slowly add in one tablespoon of butter a time, slowly whisking until the butter is fully melted and incorporated.

  6. Once all 8 tbsp. are incorporated, remove from the heat and continue to stir often. Once pasta is done, reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the side, and drain the rest. Transfer the drained pasta to the sauce pot and stir to emulsify the pasta with the sauce.

  7. Slowly add the parmigiana a little bit at a time, until it is all fully melted, and creamy in the sauce. If the sauce seems a bit too thick, or tight, add in some of the reserved pasta water 1 tbsp. at a time until desired thickness. Stir in reserved lemon juice, and finish with salt, and freshly cracked pepper.

  8. Remove pasta from pot and into your dish, top with your lemon slivers, and more freshly cracked black pepper.

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