Spaghetti al Limone

by Michelle on March 14, 2011

For Christmas last year, my foodie friend Monica and I got each other subscriptions to Cook’s Illustrated. I have been wanting this magazine for a while because it has tons of tips on technique and recipes in it. And my first issue did not disappoint, especially since it had a recipe for spaghetti al limone in it. We often order this dish from Supper, a fantastic little Italian restaurant in our neighborhood, and it’s always perfect. But I started thinking I could probably make my own version using the Cook’s Illustrated recipe. And on Saturday night I did:

Wow, this recipe is definitely a keeper. It was hard to stop eating it! The sauce is slightly creamy with just the right amount of lemon flavor. I used Locatelli romano instead of parmiggiano but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly, using fresh pasta from Russo’s, my favorite Italian deli. For added protein, I grilled some chicken, diced it up and added it to the pasta. This dish will definitely be making it into my pasta rotation!

Spaghetti al Limone (from Cook’s Illustrated)


1 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves.

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water, cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1 3/4 cups cooking water, drain pasta into colander and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta cooking water and cream into pot; bring to a simmer and cook for  2 minutes. Remove pot from heat, return pasta and stir until coated. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cover and let pasta stand  2 minutes, tossing frequestly and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 cup reserved pasta water if necessary. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah March 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

have you tried the lemon pasta at Supper? It’s TO DIE for… if you haven’t had it, i’ll go with you for the experience. 🙂


sharon April 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm



Traci June 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

wanted to make this for several weeks now….finally made it last night….BIG hit with the family! and it’s fun to say “a limone”. one question on timing where it says “….bring to a simmer and cook for [?] minutes….” thanks so much for sharing this one – delish!


Michelle June 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi Traci, Glad the spaghetti was such a hit! Thanks for catching the missing directional too. It’s 2 minutes.


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