Before we dive into this Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe, I have a Pop Quiz for you (it’s an easy one, don’t worry!): what ingredient is sacrilege not to include in pasta dishes? The ingredient that, if it’s missing from pasta recipes, makes any pure-blooded Italian shudder in horror? The ingredient that can make anything taste like it was sizzling in a Michelin-starred restaurant?
If you said garlic, you’re my kinda person–and you’ll understand why this homemade pasta recipe is a must try! Not only does “Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe” have “garlic” right in the name, but there are other Italian staples like lemon juice, fresh basil, cheeeeese . . .
Let’s get into it, my mouth is watering!
I already swooned about the garlic in this Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe, but garlic is a team player — it doesn’t overpower its supporting stars, it accentuates them! And my oh my, the lineup of supporting flavors in this homemade pasta recipe will hit every single craving button:
- Tart: what two flavors go better together than garlic’s warm heartiness and lemon’s fresh tang?
- Creamy: CHEESE. Sorry, blacked out for a second. CHEEEEEESE.
- Fresh: you might not think a dish loaded with noodles, garlic, and cheese could be fresh, but that’s the magic of Italian dishes–and the fresh basil adds a dynamic herbal pop.
A few notes about the ingredients in this Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe to make sure your dish is every bit as delicious as it can be:
Fresh basil is the best basil.
Most grocery stores sell both dried basil (in the baking section) and fresh basil (in the produce section), and while there is a time and a place for dried basil, this is one of the many recipes that really, deeply benefit from the added umph of fresh basil. And, if you’re feeling really adventurous, basil is easy to grow in home gardens!
Fresh lemon juice is the best lemon juice.
Yes, I am again harping on the necessity of freshness for this dish! I know, I know, it’s just so easy to buy prepackaged lemon juice — but I promise, the flavors you get from fresh-squeezed lemons do not compare to store-bought juice.
If you’re pressed (juicing pun) for time, you can always squeeze a bunch of lemons, put the juice in ice cube trays, and freeze them, then store them in bags in the freezer. That way, whenever a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, you can whip out a couple cubes, no problem!
An airtight container in the refrigerator will do the trick as far as storing — but really, any sauce with garlic AND cheese isn’t going to last long. Promise.
Can You Freeze This?
You can freeze Lemon Garlic Pasta! But I would recommend withholding the parmesan if you’re planning on freezing it. The cold temperatures of the freezer are not always kind to cheeses.
Make Ahead Tips
I gave a tip above about how to make the lemon juice ahead — but if you’d like to meal prep this entire dish, I’d recommend making the sauce with everything except the fresh basil and parmesan cheese. Freeze or store in the refrigerator, and when serving time comes, add the remaining ingredients to retain the basil’s freshness and the cheese’s integrity!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
If you’re keeping Lemon Garlic Pasta in the fridge’s low temperatures, it can safely hang out in there for 3-5 days.
Want to add some flair to this already fantastic homemade pasta recipe? Allow me to tempt you with a few alterations:
Can I Make Lemon Garlic Pasta With Chicken?
Breaded chicken. Fried chicken. Grilled chicken. Pulled rotisserie chicken. There really isn’t a wrong way to add chicken to this dish (except raw chicken, let’s avoid that).
Can I Make Lemon Garlic Pasta With Shrimp?
Adding shrimp to this homemade pasta recipe is a brilliant idea! Seafood and lemon juice are notoriously paired up, and with good reason — lemon juice’s bright, acidic qualities stand up well to the richness in seafood.
Can I Make Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce For Pasta Instead Of Olive Oil?
If you’re looking to take this pasta recipe up a notch on the richness scale, then swapping the olive oil for butter is just what you need! Make sure to grab unsalted butter, though, or your sauce might lean too far over to the salty side.
A word of caution: adding butter in lieu of olive oil also changes the nutrients in this dish, including upping the cholesterol and fatty acids.
What Other Meatless Pasta I Can Try?
If you’re looking to cut back on meat, homemade pasta recipes like this one can bring a world of flavor to your diet. Cacio e pepe, literally “cheese and pepper,” is one of the easiest vegetarian pasta dishes out there — pasta, butter, cracked black pepper, and a cheese of your choice. What’s not to love?
But if you’re missing that “meaty” element in your dishes, look no further than mushroom pasta. Hungry vegetarians have been swapping meat for mushrooms for years. Try adding sliced portobello mushrooms or quartered button mushrooms to your next pasta dish!
What Other Sauces I Can Try?
Branching out of the Italian-inspired pasta recipes, you must try the irresistible flavor explosion of cajun pasta. Cajun seasoning is comprised of as many as a dozen spices, and the hotter the better! You’ll be craving some New Orleans jazz in no time.
And while we’re down south, why not try some taco pasta? It’s all the best parts of a taco — spicy ground beef, fresh salsa, shredded cheese, even crisp lettuce — mixed with pasta. I defy anyone to resist this dish.
Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese Freshly Grated
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt plus more for pasta water
- black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves julienned
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 6-8 garlic clove minced
- 16 ounces angel hair pasta, Reserve 1 Cup Of Cooking Liquid
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves julienned
- In a medium bowl, make the sauce by whisking together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside. (Best if made ahead a couple of hours ahead of serving but it's not necessary. Refrigerate if making ahead, and bring to room temp before tossing with pasta.)
- Cook pasta, in well-salted water, until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Add the sauce to cooked, warm pasta. Toss well then add the reserved pasta water. Check seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve immediately. Top with extra parmesan and chopped basil.
Have I convinced you of the gloriousness of homemade pasta recipes yet? To follow your cravings further, check out these recipes:
A world of flavors awaits you in this homemade pasta recipe for Lemon Garlic Pasta! Tangy lemons, zesty basil, creamy cheese, or harmonizing garlic — which is your favorite? Comment below!