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Spaghetti al Limone

A little bit of cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese can go a long way when it comes to flavoring your favorite pasta. But the special ingredient that makes this sauce feel fancier than your average cheese sauce? Just a bit of fresh lemon.

If you’re missing the heavy cream but happen to have a jar of pre-made Alfredo sauce, you can also add a bit of fresh lemon juice for an easy semi-homemade hack. (Get the recipe for One Pot Lemony Rigatoni Alfredo with Mushrooms and Peas.)

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Spaghetti al Limone Creamy Sauce

  • Author: Misfits Market
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heavily salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add cream and lemon zest to the skillet and stir occasionally until simmering.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before straining. Transfer pasta into the pan and toss to coat with cream mixture. Add lemon juice, Parmesan, and ¼ cup of pasta water into the pan. Continue to toss pasta until Parmesan is fully melted and emulsified into the sauce. (Add more pasta water if the sauce is too thick and more cheese if too thin.) Season with lots of black pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Divide among bowls, top with more Parmesan cheese, and serve.

What does lemon juice do to spaghetti sauce?

Before serving up your next spaghetti supper, you might want to consider adding a little lemon juice. We all add a sprinkle of salt to our recipes to enhance the flavor—lemon does the same thing, minus all the extra sodium. Using freshly squeezed lemon juice in your next batch of spaghetti sauce will help bring out all the delicious flavors, like the acidity of tomatoes. The same concept can be applied to all types of pasta and a variety of sauces.