Full of zesty flavor, this Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta is creamy, cheesy, and full of vibrant flavor with a refreshing tang. Even better, It’s made in one dish for easy prep and minimal cleanup! Serve it with your favorite sides for an incredible, filling meal.
Origins of Lemon Garlic Pasta
Enjoyed all across the world, lemon pasta is often mistakenly thought of as being an American dish. However, the truth is that the exact origins of the popular recipe remain unknown. That said, it is largely believed to have been created in Naples, Italy by members of the lower class. Featuring simple ingredients, it was designed to be extremely tasty without the need for expensive ingredients like meat and cheese.
Due to its incredible flavor profile and easy preparation, the dish quickly exploded in popularity. However, it was not served in restaurants until it was introduced in New York City in the 1970s. Today, there are endless variations of lemon garlic pasta featuring lots of different mix-ins and flavor profiles, and they’re all delicious! However, for our version, we took what we believe to be the original recipe and spruced it up with a good dose of cream and cheese for a super indulgent dinner. Not exactly authentic, it features the same refreshing taste for out-of-this-world comfort food you’ll love!
Is This Recipe Healthy?
You might be surprised to learn that this is a pasta recipe you can eat with zero guilt. A simple vegetarian recipe, it’s loaded with protein thanks to the cheese. Plus, it packs a punch of vitamin C and calcium! If you want, you can make it even healthier by mixing in veggies like spinach, mushrooms, or broccoli for a boost of nutrients. Then, feel free to add a high-quality source of protein such as chicken, shrimp, fish, or even tofu!
In addition, if you’re looking for a lower-fat pasta recipe, try replacing the cream and cheese with low-fat versions for the same great taste and texture! With just a few minor tweaks you can turn this indulgent pasta dish into a family-friendly health recipe!
Basic Ingredients You’ll Need
Minimal ingredients create a creamy, indulgent flavor with a bright burst of lemon for a refreshing tang. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pasta – We prefer to use fusilli, bucati corti, or a similarly shaped pasta, but any pasta you like best will work.
- Broth – Any kind of broth you have on hand is fine. We just recommend using a low-sodium option so as not to overpower the other flavors with heaps of salt.
- Flavor Additions – Garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and Italian parsley combine to create an incredible taste.
- Cream – Heavy cream creates the most indulgent sauce.
- Cheese – A combination of shredded and grated Parmesan cheese creates a unique texture, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted.
How to Make Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta
Once you see how easy this lemon garlic pasta is to make, your whole life will be changed! Cooked in one pot, it comes together without the need to even boil the noodles. Just follow the instructions below, and prepare to be amazed!
- Preheat the oven.
- Add the pasta, garlic, lemon juice and zest, broth, salt, and pepper to a large baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake until the pasta is al dente.
- Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed, and serve warm.
Can I Make Lemon Parmesan Pasta Ahead of Time?
This recipe is best served right away while it’s still warm. However, if you want to make it ahead of time, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. We don’t recommend freezing your lemon garlic pasta, because the creamy sauce won’t thaw well.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, feel free to serve this pasta all on its own. We promise it’s filling enough to count as a full meal! However, if you want to go all out, feel free to pair it with your favorite side dishes, appetizers, and, of course, don’t forget dessert! Some of our favorites include:
- Egyptian Cucumber & Tomato Salad
- Whipped Feta with Roasted Olives
- Olive Tapenade Bruschetta
- Tiramisú Bread Pudding
- Zeppole Recipe (Easy Italian Donuts)
More Lemon Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
Looking for more lemony comfort food meals to enjoy? Try out these easy dishes!
- Quick to make and full of refreshing flavor, this Easy One Pot Lemon Pasta is a satisfying weeknight dinner you can have on the table in less than 20 minutes.
- This One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta is made with minimal ingredients for a flavorful dinner that’s so easy to make!
- Featuring Ricotta cheese and a splash of heavy cream, this Lemon Ricotta Pasta is also loaded with veggies for a healthier comfort food recipe.
Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 16 ounces pasta (uncooked (such as fusilli bucati corti or similar shape))
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or choice of broth)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice or juice of half a lemon
- 1 zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley (chopped)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large oval baking dish add uncooked pasta, garlic, lemon juice, zest, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
- Remove pasta from the oven, and stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!