Spaghetti al Limone

How to Make Spaghetti al Limone

Take a trip to Sicily or the Amalfi Coast with my Spaghetti al Limone recipe. Bursting with fresh lemon flavor, this simple and beautiful Mediterranean dish is light yet creamy. As usual it’s ALL in the ingredients – source beautiful lemons, it will make a world of difference!

Watch the Spaghetti al Limone recipe

How to Make Spaghetti al Limone

Spaghetti al limone. Perfectly creamy, without the cream. The question is, do you like my added twist? Continue reading to find out what it is, if you haven’t already guessed!

Vincenzo’s Plate Top Tips for Making Spaghetti al Limone 

This recipe has minimal ingredients and will not take long at all yet the flavors will impress your guests, no matter what their palette is like, they just need to enjoy lemon! Whenever cooking a dish like this, there are some important things to take into consideration. So if you’ve chosen Spaghetti al limone as your dish of choice, take note of Vincenzo’s tips and you can’t go wrong!

Check the packet instructions for your pasta!

When cooking dry pasta, always follow the time recommended on the packaging once your water has boiled. For this recipe  you want to cook your pasta slightly less than this, because these last few minutes of the pasta’s cooking time will be done in the pan with the sauce.

Keep it light and avoid butter

You can use butter if you prefer, but using extra virgin olive oil is the REAL Mediterranean way to make this dish. It will also turn out a lot lighter.

My minty twist

My twist on this recipe is MINT! You can add as much (or as little) mint as you want. If you don’t like it add basil instead, or you can leave the herbs out all together, but they do balance the flavor of the lemon really well.

Keep it in theme

This dish will absolutely transport you to Italy – so if you’re having guests over, theme your table with whole lemons and their leaves!

AVOID CREAM – Obviously!

This isn’t a cacio e pepe, but the pecorino romano cheese will add a delightful creaminess to the spaghetti al limone instead of adding cream. This pasta is perfect the way it is, don’t add any cream!

Spaghetti al limone

Bursting with freshlemon flavor, this simple and beautiful Mediterranean dish is light yet creamy.Although many people like to add cream, this dish does not need it at all. Use pecorinoromano to add creaminess the true Mediterranean way.
 Pasta al limone.Perfectly creamy, without the cream.  
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • 1 Stock-pot
  • 1 Zester
  • 1 Plate
  • 1 Large pan or Skillet
  • 1 Tongs
  • 1 Large Spoon
  • 1 Mug
  • 1 Glass
  • 2 Plates for serving


  • 200 grams linguine pasta (7oz) The pasta is the most important ingredient. High-quality pasta is rough, white, and not orange in any way.
  • 1 handful mint leaves You can use basil if you don’t like mint
  • 1 lemon per person
  • Extra virgin olive oil EVOO
  • 1 bowl Pecorino Romano a small bowl will do
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper Use as much or as little as you like


  • Pasta al limone begins by bringing a large stock pot full of water to boil.
  • Once boiling, add 1 tbsp of rock salt and allow to dissolve.
  • Cook your pasta for 2 minutes less than the package recommends.
  • While the pasta is cooking, zest one lemon onto a plate. This should be enough for two people, but you can zest another lemon if you want a richer lemon flavor.
  • Cut both lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a glass or bowl. Make sure to get as much juice as possible. Do not discard the lemon halves.
  • While the pasta cooks, place 4tbsp EVOO into a large saute pan or skillet and heat on medium-high heat.
  • Add the lemon zest into the oil along with half of the lemon juice.
  • Break off a handful of mint leaves and place them in the pan.
  • Place the juiced lemon halves in the pan flat side down. This will give extra flavor to the base.
  • Once your pasta is ready, strain it and place it in the pan with the lemon mixture.
  • Take a mug and dip it into the pasta water. Make sure to get a generous amount.
  • Pour the mug into the pan with the lemons and pasta, and turn the heat to high.
  • For the first minute, constantly stir while the pasta water evaporates.
  • Remove the lemon halves from the pan after 1 minute and cook the pasta for another 1.5 minutes total.
  • With one minute remaining, zest the remaining lemon into the pan, saving some for decoration.
  • Tear off more mint leaves and add them to the pan.
  • With 45 seconds to go, add in the rest of the reserved lemon juice. Keep stirring the pasta on high heat. Stir until all the water has evaporated.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the pecorino romano cheese. Toss to coat.
  • E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!


Keyword Easy, lemon pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to serve Spaghetti al Limone

Now it’s time to serve your pasta al limone! Place a portion of pasta onto a plate and swirl with tongs. Scoop up some extra lemony sauce and add it on top. Top with additional lemon zest, and break fresh mint leaves on top as a garnish.

Enjoy how creamy this pasta gets with the simple addition of pecorino romano. Simple, light, healthy, and beautiful!

Notice the strong flavors from the lemon and the fresh mint? This is a truly wonderful culinary experience.

WARNING: Do not make this dish with cream! Anyone who shows you how to make this dish with cream ruins the true Mediterranean flavors!

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16 Responses to Spaghetti al Limone

  1. Mike June 22, 2022 at 9:46 AM #

    I made this for the first time… in the USA we have “large lemons” and “small lemons”……..not knowing o got the large…..don’t do that…….my family and I love lemon but if you get the large ones to covers up everything else…….get the small

    • Vincenzo's Plate May 8, 2023 at 8:24 PM #

      I understand that using large lemons can make the lemon flavor overpowering. Using smaller lemons is definitely a good suggestion to balance out the flavors of the dish. I’m glad that you tried the recipe and hope that you will enjoy making it again with the right size of lemons next time.

      • Mike May 9, 2023 at 11:05 AM #

        Trying again this weekend

        • Vincenzo's Plate May 18, 2023 at 8:28 PM #

          That’s great to hear! I hope your next attempt at making Pasta Limone turns out even more delicious. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions or need any tips along the way. Enjoy cooking!

  2. Dober July 18, 2022 at 5:25 AM #

    5 stars
    I just tried this for dinner today, and it’s just delicious, the wife loved it since she doesn’t like creamy pasta like carbonara, so this one goes into the family favourites along with the spaghetti al pomodoro.
    Thanks Vincenzo.

    • Vincenzo's Plate May 3, 2023 at 6:56 PM #

      It’s always great to find new family favorites. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions or requests. Happy cooking!

  3. Deborah May 14, 2023 at 7:38 PM #

    Very lemony. Next time will reduce the amount of lemon zest & juice. Otherwise it was different

    • Vincenzo's Plate May 16, 2023 at 11:32 PM #

      I appreciate your feedback on the lemon zest and juice. Feel free to adjust the recipe to your liking and I hope you enjoy it even more the next time you make it.

  4. Travis Smith May 25, 2023 at 12:51 AM #

    Love this recipe! So simple and delicious, it lets the ingredients shine! Do you think a variation with a bit of orange/ orange zest would be just as good? To balance some of the tartness of North American lemons?

    • Vincenzo's Plate June 10, 2023 at 4:13 AM #

      When incorporating orange zest, I recommend adding it sparingly to avoid overpowering the other flavors. Start with a small amount and gradually increase if desired, tasting along the way to ensure the balance is just right for your palate.

  5. Michael July 9, 2023 at 11:36 PM #

    Looks fantastic! Can this be done without the cheese?

    • Vincenzo's Plate July 13, 2023 at 4:07 PM #

      Yes, spaghetti al limone can be made without the cheese. The cheese is not essential to the dish, but it does add a bit of richness and creaminess. If you want to make the dish without cheese, you can simply omit the cheese from the recipe.

  6. Göran October 23, 2023 at 12:39 AM #

    5 stars
    Really super delicious have done this a couple of time since i came across your facebook-videos…keep them recipes coming Vincenzo

    • Vincenzo's Plate October 27, 2023 at 11:27 PM #

      I love sharing my passion for Italian cuisine with others, and it makes me happy to know that my recipes are bringing people joy.

      I’m always working on new recipes, so be sure to stay tuned for more deliciousness!

  7. Ryan December 20, 2023 at 4:20 AM #

    5 stars
    Love your stuff and this recipe. But, whenever I make it there seems to be a bitter flavor. I can’t tell if that means my lemons are too old, I’m zesting too deep and getting the pith, or the lemon juice naturally tastes like that but it has a bitter flavor layered onto the citrus flavor. Any thoughts on how to correct for that or am I just being sensitive to natural flavors?

    • Vincenzo's Plate December 22, 2023 at 12:46 PM #

      Hey there my friend! If you’re experiencing a bitter flavor, it might be due to zesting too deep and getting the pith, which can be bitter. Try zesting just the outer, yellow part of the lemon. Also, ensure your lemons are fresh.

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