Pappardelle al Limone is a creamy lemon pasta recipe with a luscious no-cook lemon cream sauce and wide pappardelle noodles. It’s fast, easy and so so good!
You know those days.
When the only thing that could lure you off the couch is a bowl of comfort food — specifically a bowl of pasta.
Allow me to introduce you to this dreamy, creamy lemon Pappardelle al Limone.
Otherwise known as The Creamy Lemon Pasta in my house, this easy pasta recipe will become a culinary magic trick to keep in your back pocket.
When a case of hunger emergency strikes, combine a few simple ingredients for the sauce, mix it with hot pasta and you have a rich, velvety sauce that practically sparkles with fresh lemon.
The original version of this dish even became the inspiration for Quick Creamy Cacio e Pepe, another easy pasta recipe that combines a carbonara sauce with cacio e pepe pasta.
Because the super-creamy — and did I say lemony? — sauce is so utterly unfussy, you can make this recipe in about 15 minutes flat.
You don’t even need to cook it.
In fact to make the sauce, just whisk the ingredients together in a big bowl (cream, cheese, egg yolk, LEMON) while the pasta water boils.
Toss the hot pasta with the sauce in the biggest bowl in your kitchen and serve while it’s hot.
Sure, on an exhausting day you could just microwave macaroni and cheese and be done, but I promise this will be sooo much better (for body and soul).
Pappardelle al Limone. The name of the recipe all by itself pretty much translates as “Mac and Cheese for Grown Ups.”
It’s basically a creamy tangle of wide noodles (pappardelle) that are the perfect-sized strands to capture the tangy lemon sauce.
Who doesn’t love a bowl of creamy comfort food?
Especially one that sings with bright flavor from the lemon zest, lemon juice and nutty, salty Parmesan.
4 ingredients you need to make creamy lemon pasta:
- Butter. Use a good cultured butter, unsalted or salted. I don’t often cook with salted butter, but if you happen to see a lightly salted premium butter (like Kerrygold) at your market, get it and use it! It will take this pasta to the next level.
- Cream. Make sure you get a cream labelled as heavy cream , not whipping cream. Heavy cream has a slightly higher butterfat content than whipping cream and give the sauce a luscious mouthfeel.
- Parmesan. Don’t buy the pregrated stuff. I really hate to sound like the ultimate food snob here, but if you can get real-deal Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, please do! It is without question a bit pricier, but you only need about 4 ounces of cheese for the recipe. If that isn’t within reach, just choose a good hunk of Parm that you grate yourself.
- Pappardelle. A pasta that looks like wide fettuccine or tagliatelle. It’s a perfect shape for hearty thick sauces. You can find packaged dried pappardelle (coiled in little nests) in many grocery stores and Trader Joe’s.
- Kosher salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1 lemon
- 8 ounces dried pappardelle pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted is fine)
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- Bring a large pot (5-6 quarts) of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, cream, 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Grate the zest from the lemon with a rasp grater (this Microplane is my top pick) over the bowl, then slice the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice from one half. Whisk to combine.
- Cook the pasta until al dente, usually 8 - 10 minutes. Taste and test!
- Drain the pasta and immediately add to the bowl with the lemon cream. Top with the butter, then use 2 forks or a pair of tongs to gently toss the pasta until it's coated with the sauce. Cover the bowl and let it sit 5 minutes to thicken.
- Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley, additional grated Parmesan and lemon zest, if you like.
Recipe adapted from How to Eat
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 148mg Sodium: 325mg Carbohydrates: 37g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 12g
Pin this recipe:
Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
Have a question or feedback? Get in touch or leave me a comment below — I love hearing from you!