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Spaghetti al Limone

Elegant in its simplicity, spaghetti with lemon and parmesan cheese is a classic pasta recipe for a reason. This version comes to us from Dan Pelosi – he advises to cook the spaghetti in less water than usual and reserve some of the water to make the sauce. The extra starchy pasta water will emulsify to create a supremely creamy, buttery and cheesy sauce.

Spaghetti al Limone

Recipe created for

Shallow Round Dutch Oven

Main ingredient


Cook time

25 minutes

Serving size



  • 5 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for salting the water
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Quick Tip

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Recipe Preparation

  1. Halve one of the lemons, then zest and juice the remaining four. Set aside.
  2. Fill a shallow pot with 3 inches of water (the shallow water will allow for extra starchy pasta water). Salt the water and place the halved lemon into the water. Bring the water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and discard remaining water.
  3. Wipe out pot and set over medium heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Swirl together until butter is melted and everything is combined. Reduce the heat to low and add the al dente spaghetti, along with 1/2 cup of the starchy water to the pan. Turn off the heat and add the remaining two tablespoons butter. Twirl the spaghetti until a creamy consistency forms, adding more pasta water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. Serve pasta immediately generously topped with parmesan cheese.
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