Pasta al Limone is an amazing dish that is perfect when you want something that feels like home.
Simply said, it is spaghetti with lemon-butter sauce. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But it actually requires a bit of technique.
Most of the time, when we make a creamy sauce, we use things like double cream. And that actually saves you work and time.
But this time, you have to work with the pan, ingredients, and heat. All that will take a maximum of 5 minutes and a bit of knowledge that you’ll find down below.
You have five ingredients in total and an absolutely stunning pasta. Just remember, the fewer components you see, the more technique you’re gonna need to use. This rule is correct for most of the great dishes.
What do you need to make Pasta al Limone?
- A pot
- A pan
- Spaghetti fork, or anything that could take spaghetti out from the water
How to make Pasta al Limone?
Yes, Pasta al Limone is not time-consuming, but it requires technique. Therefore, don’t forget to prepare everything before cooking, so you feel ready for the next steps.
Here’s how we’ll make Pasta al Limone (and don’t forget to get the full printable recipe with measurements on the page down below):
1. Pour water into a pot, add enough salt to make it a little salty, and bring it to a boil. While it’s heating up, in a pan, put the butter and add the lemon zest. In separate bowls, squeeze lemon juice and grate the parmesan.
2. Cook spaghetti until pasta is al dente. In the pan, gently melt the butter with lemon zest on low heat.
3. Place spaghetti in the pan, where the melted butter is waiting, and toss it up quickly. Then pour the lemon juice and make an emulsion. At this point, you have to work with the pan and heat and make this dish stand out. Shake, toss, stir, do everything that could help butter and juices come together and become one. Pour some water (the one you cooked the pasta in) and work with it again until you get the creamy, shiny, light, and white in the color sauce.
Don’t forget to taste it! Maybe it needs more salt.
4. Take some beautiful plates, place spaghetti, pour some sauce, and sprinkle a good amount of parmesan on top. Go and eat immediately because this sauce won’t be waiting!
Questions and answers about Pasta al Limone
What is AL DENTE?
When we cook pasta, we always have to taste it in order to understand whether it’s done or not.
Al dente means that when you taste the pasta, you feel the bite as well. It is cooked, absolutely not tough, but has a feeling that it’s still a little firm.
Visually, al dente is when you ‘see a tiny white dot in the center of the pasta.’
At first, for me, it was very hard to find the right timing for al dente. But I practiced each time. I tasted my pasta every 1-2 minutes to find out when it is perfect. And I found that sweet spot; you’ll find it too.
What is an EMULSION?
An emulsion is a mix of fat and liquid. Some of the emulsions are stable, and some not. The stable ones can stand for a long time and won’t separate. The unstable ones separate pretty quickly, the fat settle on the top of the mix.
The mix of butter and lemon juice is unstable, that’s why we have to work with it, be careful with the heat, and use some pasta water. This is the reason why I said that this sauce doesn’t like waiting.
It may sound strange that we use pasta water in the sauce, but this water has salt and starch from the spaghetti and helps make an emulsion, so it’s beneficial for us in three ways.
Firstly, salt helps us to create balance in flavor, make it not too sour.
Secondly, the starch (on medium heat) thicken the sauce.
And lastly, if the emulsion breaks down, a splash of water makes it come together again. For example, if your chocolate sauce has separated, pour a tiny drop of water, mix, and it will become a beautiful emulsion again.
What to do if Pasta al Limone sauce is too sour?
This can happen. Lemons are different during seasons, so the amount I wrote above might differ from your use.
To fix the taste, you must know the rule that salty, sour, and sweet balance each other.
If it’s too sour, add more salt and a little bit of sugar, mix everything well, and voila!
As I said above, this recipe requires a lot of technique, so don’t be surprised that it didn’t work out the first time. Be patient, and try again.
The practice is EVERYTHING!
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Pasta al Limone | How to make Creamy & Cozy recipe
- 150g of dry spaghetti
- 45g of grated parmesan
- 60g of butter
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- salt for the water
- Pour water into a pot, add salt, and bring it to a boil. In a pan, put the butter and add the lemon zest. In separate bowls, squeeze lemon juice and grate the parmesan.
- Cook spaghetti until pasta is al dente. In the pan, gently melt the butter with lemon zest on low heat.
- Place spaghetti in the pan, where the melted butter is waiting, and toss it up quickly. Then pour the lemon juice and make an emulsion. Shake, toss, and stir to make the sauce. Pour some water (the one you cooked the pasta in) and work with it again until you get the creamy emulsion sauce. Don’t forget to taste it! Maybe it needs more salt.
- Place Pasta al Limone in plates and sprinkle a good amount of parmesan on top. Enjoy!