Lemon Pasta

Pasta with garlic and olive oil is simple and classic recipe which comes together quickly for a great weeknight meal. Add in some lemon juice and zest to give it brightness and anchovies to provide umami, and you’ll have a pasta dish you’ll want to make again and again.

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 servings


  • 12 oz spaghettini, can substitute spaghetti or vermicelli 
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3-4 anchovy fillets
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook the pasta to package directions. Then drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. While you are waiting for the water to boil/pasta to cook, make the sauce.
  4. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  5. Add the anchovies, garlic, and a sprinkle of kosher salt and cook, stirring frequently until the garlic is soft and the anchovies have melted into the oil, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Once the pasta is done, add it to the skillet with the pasta water, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  7. Toss everything together over low heat until the sauce has become thick and clings to the pasta, about 2-3 minutes. Serve.


  • Timing: I generally pull out all the ingredients, then get the pasta water going, and while I’m waiting for it to boil and I do any chopping and zesting needed. Then, while the pasta cooks I make the sauce and leave it on very low heat until the pasta is done.
  • Pasta: I’ve made the recipe with various pasta over the years and I like spaghettini the best. It’s not too thick and not too thin. But, as this is a pantry meal, feel free to use whatever shape you have on hand.
  • Vegetarians: If you want to serve this to vegetarians you will need to skip the anchovies! Don’t forget.

Originally published in justalittlebitofbacon.com