This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Pasta al limone, also called lemon pasta, is a delicious Italian dish that combines the tangy flavor of lemon with tender pasta. This simple yet elegant single serving dish ready in 15 minutes!

Looking for more quick and easy single serving pasta recipes? Try our fresh and flavorful Caprese Pasta, savory Mushroom Pasta, or creamy Chicken Paprika.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Incredibly Delicious: This popular Italian dish features a tangy lemon-based sauce made with simple ingredients. It’s perfect as a main course or a side dish.
  • A Light Pasta Dish: One of my favorite quick pasta meals is traditional Italian pasta al limone. I love this lighter version that skips the heavy cream. Instead, it uses butter, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of starchy pasta water to create a silky sauce. The dish is finished with fresh parsley or chopped basil and extra cheese.
  • Ready in Minutes: This pasta dish comes together in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight.
  • Recipe Doubles Well: Our recipe makes one generous serving of the best lemon pasta. If you want to make more, just double the ingredients for a second bowl.

What Is Pasta al Limone?

Pasta al Limone is a classic Italian dish with a rich, tangy lemon sauce. The sauce combines butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese, melting together to create a silky, indulgent sauce. The bright lemon flavor makes this a great choice for a light, satisfying meal. Our single serving version is perfect when you’re cooking for one and want a quick, delicious pasta dish.

Ingredients

lemon pasta ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this easy lemon pasta recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Spaghetti: You can use any pasta you like—linguine, angel hair, or bucatini all work great. Use 2 ounces of dry spaghetti, which equals about 1 cup of cooked spaghetti. The easiest way to measure 2 ounces of dry pasta is with a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, it measures roughly 2 1/8 inches in circumference. Got extra spaghetti? Use some in Chicken Tetrazzini or Pesto Pasta.
  • Butter: I use salted butter.
  • Olive Oil: I always use extra virgin olive oil in this lemon pasta recipe and all other recipes. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed, retaining a true olive taste and more vitamins and minerals. You can use light olive oil if you prefer.
  • Lemon: Use a small lemon for both its juice and zest.
  • Garlic: Use 1 clove of minced garlic.

Recipe Variations

Pasta al Limone is fantastic on its own, but it’s also incredibly versatile. If you’re in the mood to experiment, here are some tasty tweaks to make this dish uniquely yours.

  • Lemon Pasta with Chicken: Incorporate cooked chicken or repurpose leftover rotisserie chicken into the dish.
  • Creamy Lemon Pasta: Add 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to the sauce, heating it briefly before mixing it with the pasta.
  • Pesto Twist: For an herby kick, stir in a spoonful of pesto into the pasta and sauce.
  • Shrimp Addition: Elevate your meal by tossing in some cooked shrimp for extra protein.
Save This Recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get weekly recipes from us – all for free.

How To Make Pasta al Limone For One

These step-by-step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make this recipe. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Cook the pasta in a medium-sized pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions to al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
pasta cooking in a small pot on the stove.
  1. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add lemon zest and garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in lemon juice.
garlic, lemon zest, and butter in a small skillet on the stove.
  1. Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss with the other ingredients.
  2. Add some of the pasta water and the Parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce thickens.
spaghetti with lemon juice and zest in a skillet.
  1. Remove the skillet from the heat and add a pinch of salt if you feel it’s necessary. Toss again to combine, and if needed, add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water. Transfer to a bowl, top with more Parmesan cheese and a little fresh basil or chopped parsley if you have some on hand, and enjoy hot.
pasta al limone in a blue bowl topped with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.

Expert Tips

  • Read through the entire recipe and the Ingredient Notes section of the post and gather your ingredients. Pasta al limone comes together quickly so it’s a good idea to have everything ready before beginning. Plus, if you have questions about any of the ingredients used or the recipe process, you will likely find the answers within the post.
  • Salt your pasta cooking water. This ensures that your pasta is perfectly flavored from the start. Use 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. Some of the pasta water is also going to be used to flavor the sauce.
  • Remember to save some of the pasta cooking water. This starchy liquid is perfect for adding additional flavor and helps the pasta and sauce hold together. It also helps to thicken the sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Looking to round out your meal? Here are some stellar sides and accompaniments that complement the tangy flavors of Pasta al Limone beautifully.

  • Chicken Piccata: The lemony profile of chicken piccata pairs exceptionally well with Pasta al Limone.
  • Baked Pork Chops: A savory option that balances the zesty flavors of your lemon pasta.
  • Serve with Salmon: Present your lemon pasta next to a salmon fillet or mix in some flaked salmon for a seafood twist.
  • Crusty Bread: Nothing says Italian like a side of warm, crusty bread—perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce.
  • Green Salad: A simple, refreshing salad can be a great palate cleanser, especially with a light vinaigrette.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I double this recipe?

Yes. If you’d like to make a delightful “lemon pasta for two”, simply double the ingredient amounts.

Do I have to use spaghetti?

Although I prefer using spaghetti or angel hair pasta in this recipe, you can use 2 ounces of your favorite type of pasta.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh?

Absolutely! The lemon zest from the fresh lemon gives the sauce a tangy burst of fresh flavor but bottled lemon juice will work if necessary. Feel free to add a bit more lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs more tang.

How do I store leftover pasta al limone?

Leftover lemon spaghetti will keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, melt a little butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the spaghetti and heat for a few minutes until warmed through.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this lemon pasta recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Pasta al Limone For One (Lemon Pasta)

5 from 8 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Pasta al limone, also called lemon pasta, is a delicious Italian dish that combines the tangy flavor of lemon with savory pasta. This simple yet elegant single serving dish is ready in 15 minutes!

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 ounces dry spaghetti -A 2-ounce serving of dry spaghetti measures 2 ⅛ inches (circumference) and yields 1 cup of cooked spaghetti.
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic -minced
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese -divided
Save this Recipe!
Get this recipe sent to your inbox, plus get weekly recipes from us – all for free.

Instructions 

  • Cook the pasta in a medium-sized pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions to al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.
  • Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add lemon zest and garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
  • Stir the lemon juice.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss with the other ingredients.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the pasta water and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add a pinch of salt if you feel it's necessary. Toss again to combine, and if needed, add a little bit more of the pasta cooking water. Transfer to a bowl, top with more Parmesan cheese and a little fresh basil if you have some on hand, and enjoy hot.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Read through the entire recipe and the Ingredient Notes section of the post and gather your ingredients. Pasta al limone comes together quickly so it’s a good idea to have everything ready before beginning. Plus, if you have questions about any of the ingredients used or the recipe process, you will likely find the answers within the post.
  • Salt your pasta cooking water. This ensures that your pasta is perfectly flavored from the start. Use ¾ to 1 teaspoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. Some of the pasta water is also going to be used to flavor the sauce.
  • Remember to save some of the pasta cooking water. This starchy liquid is perfect for adding additional flavor and helps the pasta and sauce hold together. It also helps to thicken the sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 430kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 394mg, Potassium: 167mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 526IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 0.1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Receive Our Latest Single Serving Recipes!
Sign Up for the weekly One Dish Kitchen Newsletter!!
Red 5-inch square baking dish with One Dish Kitchen branded paper sleeve around it.

Make 80+ Recipes With This Dish!

Ideal for home chefs, this individual square ceramic baking dish is safe for oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher. Simple to use & easy to clean!

Welcome!

I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    I made this and it was delicious

  2. Alisa Hannifan says:

    I have not made this yet, but if I wanted it to be more creamy, would you suggest cream cheese or something else? If so, how much for a single serving?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I recommend adding 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to the sauce, heating it briefly before mixing it with the pasta.

  3. Brittani says:

    Amazingly good and fresh tasting! I tripled the recipe because doubling didn’t seem like enough portion size for a main course dinner for two… Flad I did that. Served it with a warm rosemary bread loaf with oil and balsamic for dipping. Definitely will make again.

  4. JH says:

    What a great meal for a late dinner! I made it as written. It’s light, yummy, quick, easy, and hits the spot. Gotta do it again and try adding whatever else is on hand. Thanks!

  5. Mousewoman says:

    When you add cream to the sauce, how do you keep the cream from separating, becoming curdeled?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Our recipe does not call for adding cream but it can be added if you’d like a creamier sauce. Stir in a tablespoon into the sauce and heat, stirring frequently for about 1 minute. The sauce will not curdle. The heavy cream will thicken the sauce as it heats and then add the pasta to the pan.

  6. Mary Noel says:

    Made this for my dinner last dinner and it was absolutely delicious! Very quick, used ingredients that I always have in my kitchen, and it served me exactly the right portion. So glad I found your site!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Thank you!

  7. Ann L says:

    I love this. Lemon, butter, garlic, parm, what’s not to love. But I use 1 ounce of pasta rather than 2 oz to save carbs and lower calories.

  8. Christine Gaudette says:

    Really good recipe! I made this using some preserved Meyer lemons that I have. Tossed in a few shrimp and some cut up asparagus to saute with the lemon and garlic. Delicious meal!

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Sounds wonderful, Christine. I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for your feedback.

  9. J. Hegyi says:

    Good recipe.