simplest spaghetti al limone

In 2011, I shared a recipe for spaghetti with cheese and black pepper (cacio e pepe) but it always bothered me that it contained extra ingredients and that the technique left a wide margin of error. In 2018, I finally cracked the code at home and ran to the internet to tell you about it. Today I’m sharing what I hope will be a similar glow-up for spaghetti (or fettuccine) al limone, a classic pasta dish from, depending on who you are asking, Genoa, Amalfi, Sicily and further (the common thread is, no surprise, places where lemons are grown). In its simplest form, spaghetti al limone contains only lemons, olive oil, parmesan, salt, pepper, and a few leaves of fresh basil in an uncooked sauce. Versions abound, including mine from 2011, with cream, butter, wine, shallots, or more, usually simmered and reduced. Garlic, ricotta, and/or goat cheese are not uncommon. I suspect it’s less due to a blasphemous streak or attempting to bait this parody account, but because they are all delicious. You should feel no obligation to choose.

what you'll need + olive oil

But it was the River Cafe London’s 30th anniversary cookbook edition, released last year, that reminded me of what a pure and wonderful thing spaghetti al limone can be when made as uncluttered as possible. Their minimalist version is heated at the end but I found the technique I use for my foolproof cacio e pepe — a thicker paste of a sauce, thinned with just a small splash of pasta water after it has coated the hot spaghetti — to work more reliably, and to all but eliminate leading weary home cooks to wonder why they haven’t been able to coalesce oil and water together on a Tuesday night. I find I need much less lemon and olive oil, as well. Marcella Hazan calls fettuccine al limone “one of those lightning-quick Italian triumphs” and she, SK’s patron saint of Italian triumphs, seems like a good person to trust on this. It takes all of a minute longer to make than pasta takes to boil and the result is the kind of sunny, summery, quick meals we all need more of in our repertoires.

finely zest lemonfinely grated parmesanmake a thick saucedrain fasttoss toss tossevenly coated, plus some baby basil


One year ago: Linguine and Clams
Two years ago: Stovetop Americanos
Three years ago: Strawberry Milk and Corn and Black Bean Weeknight Nachos
Four years ago: Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes and Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie
Five years ago: Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake
Six years ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
Seven years ago: Broccoli Parmesan Fritters
Eight years ago: Dobos Torte
Nine years ago: Mushroom Crepe Cake, Braided Lemon Bread and Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint
Ten years ago: Lemon Mint Granita, Pickled Sugar Snap Peas and Springy Fluffy Marshmallows
Eleven years ago: 10 Paths to Painless Pizza-Making and Pistachio Petit-Four Cake
Twelve years ago: Gateau de Crepes and Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette
1.5 Years Ago: Boulevardier and Sheet Pan Meatballs with Crispy Turmeric Chickpeas
2.5 Years Ago: Pimento Cheese Potato Bites
3.5 Years Ago: Tres Leches Cake + A Taco Party and Eggnog Waffles
4.5 Years Ago: Jelly Doughnuts and Endives with Oranges and Almonds

Simplest Spaghetti al Limone

  • Servings: 2 to 3
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

I am usually no fan of Microplane (specifically Microplane rasp-ed) parmesan. I find it fluffy and weightless. I prefer my parmesan with more bite, gravitas. But here, it’s the very best way to go, rendering parmesan so fine that merely a whisk will turn it into a sauce. Plus, you’ll already be using it for the lemon zest, right? If you don’t have one, use the tiniest holes on a box grater. You can also use the food processor method we do in the cacio e pepe, blending it to a as-smooth-as-possible paste in the machine before returning it to the bowl where the pasta will go.

If you can find an unsprayed/unwaxed lemon, it’s all the better here. If you can’t, give your lemon a light scrub (not removing zest, of course) and dry it thoroughly before zesting it here.

  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces or 225 grams) dried spaghetti
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn

Boil the spaghetti in well-salted water according to package directions. While it boils, finely grate (with a rasp-style grater; here’s the most common one but I prefer this size) the zest of half your lemon into the large bowl you’ll use to serve your dish. Add the juice of the whole lemon (about 4 tablespoons). Use the same rasp to grate the parmesan on top. Add olive oil, about 1/2 teaspoon salt (and more to taste), and several grinds of black pepper and combine them with a whisk until very well mixed and as smooth as possible. When the pasta reaches the ideal texture, scoop out 1 cup of cooking water, set it aside, and drain the rest. Quickly turn piping hot spaghetti to lemon-parmesan mixture in bowl and use tongs or spoons to toss it until all of the strands are coated. Don’t worry if the mixture seems too thick or sticky — first get the strands as evenly coated as possible. Add reserved pasta water, a tiny splash (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) at a time, tossing the whole time, only until the spaghetti looks glossy and lightly sauced, but no so much that you “wash” the sauce off the pasta. You might only need a single splash to achieve this. Add basil leaves and toss to combine, then serve. If you finish each serving with a little extra olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan, you’ll be glad you did.

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105 comments on simplest spaghetti al limone

  1. Kat

    I love lemon pasta, but living that dairy-free lifestyle, would you have any suggestions on what can be substituted for parm?

    1. Tyler

      I would suggest playing around with some nutritional yeast and using some sauerkraut brine or finely chopped sauerkraut! As odd as it sounds, some clever chefs making a vegan version of carbonara realized that both hard cheese and sauerkraut have a bit of a lactic acid (fermentation) tang, as well as a bit of funk and saltiness. And of course, nutritional yeast is a classic for upping cheesiness without cheese. Here is the article

    2. Dairy free. There’s a new vegan Parmesan cheese made by Vio Life that looks just like the real thing and tastes great-for a dairy free cheese. I’d give it a try. I buy it at Whole Foods. Nutritional yeast is a good suggestion as well.

      1. kahani82

        You could just concentrate extra pasta water until it’s thicker and creamier. Or, add an egg yolk + the hot pasta water for that carbonara creamy cheat.

        1. Jessica

          I made this last night and it was so easy and really good. I doubled the ingredients and one large lemon was still plenty enough lemon flavor I just zested is the whole lemon instead of half

        2. Ann

          Wow! I have made this 3 times now! And I have shared the recipe many times! This is delicious and quick!! Did not alter the recipe in anyway.

          1. Lindsay

            Made this and it was perfect! So easy and so delicious. 10/10 recommend. I used grated pecorino because it was what I had on hand (grated by the deli, so no additives). Thanks, Deb!

  2. Jasmine

    I just made this and it was super yummy, especially with the basil leaves! I messed up the timing and my spaghetti was ready before the sauce mixture and thus wasn’t super hot when I added them together. The sauce wouldn’t emulsify so I tossed it all into a hot ss skillet with more pasta water and olive oil, tossed a bunch, and it all came together! Thanks for the simple and perfect recipe!!

  3. monica

    I make my own version of this often – and sometimes substitute mint, which grows excessively in my backyard, for the basil!

  4. gabesullivan

    I made this – delicious! I cheated and used pre grated Parmesan and it was a bad idea – it got a bit clumpy, next time I’ll use fresh grated. I used thyme instead of basil as it was what I had and topped it with prawns and it was delicious!

    1. Susan

      I made this for dinner tonight with a simple salad, so easy and so good! I had everything on hand for the pasta except basil but I didn’t seem to miss it. This recipe is going into my rotation of weeknight favorites, thanks Deb!

  5. JP

    Ok, I am not joking – I just searched SK, then the web, for a recipe like this earlier this week. Deb, you are officially psychic. Thanks for meeting my cooking needs!

  6. Mary

    Hey Deb. Can you help me out with some recipe ideas? Someone is asking me to create a vegetarian dinner that is WOW! You know, kind of showstoppers.
    Ive made so so many of your meals, that wow me personally but I’m not so sure for others and I’m just wondering what you would say? What are the first meals that come to mind?
    I thought the mushroom bourgignon- but that seems very wintery?
    Thanks for your time, as always!

    1. Stephanie Bachman

      Mary, the halloumi roast with eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes and crushed olives with almonds, celery, and parmesan from SK Every Day were huge hits in my book club. If you can’t find halloumi (my local store says they can’t get it right now), queso fresco subs well with some extra salt.

  7. Jon Gabriel

    Love this recipe. I ate this in Italy almost 30 years ago. Delicious then, fabulous now. Thank you for posting this.

  8. That twitter account is hilarious, i just sent it to an italian friend of mine with a tendency to get very angry at food
    Also i will 100% be making this tomorrow night. I would make it tonight but your lentil and chickpea salad with feta and tahini is already in the works so…

  9. Amy Simon

    After a long day, I whipped this up for my tired family and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal. I always have these ingredients in house, and appreciate a simple recipe that is both quick and delicious. Thanks Deb!

  10. Dan

    This sounds perfect, but 1/2 pound of pasta is never enough at my house (I have a teenager). Guessing that doubling the pasta doesn’t necessarily mean doubling everything. Any tips?

  11. Perfect summer supper. How many ounces of fresh pasta, do you think? I’d like to finally try out my mixer’s pasta press attachment. Hope that works out for me.

    1. deb

      It’s been a while since I made it but I find that cooked pasta, for a reference point, weighs twice what dried does. Fresh is probably somewhere in the middle, closer to cooked, however, I’m sure there are better measurements/guides online if you search around.

    2. Neil Morris

      When making fresh pasta, if it’s for a main course, if using A/P wheat flour, generally figure 1 cup of flour, ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, one whole large egg, and one large egg yolk per person. If you like a sturdier, more toothsome pasta, substitute 1 teaspoon (5g) olive oil, and 1 tablespoon (15g) water, for the second yolk. I usually mix my pasta dough in a food processor. Pulse all ingredients EXCEPT the water until JUST combined, and walk away for 5-10 minutes to let the flour hydrate. Then turn it on, add the water GRADUALLY, just until the dough is moist (until you can squeeze it and it holds together, like pie crust dough). You may not need all of the water. Then let the processor run 1-2 minutes more until a dough ball forms. Wrap it in plastic (or a zipper-lock bag), and refrigerate up to 36 hours. If you’re using it immediately, just set it on the counter or a cutting board under a bowl for AT LEAST 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

  12. TinaD

    Cool—somebody else cooks this besides me! I pimp mine a little with steamed broccoli or asparagus, so I can feel virtuous and my family gets at least one vegetable that isn’t on a burger, and I use a chunkier pasta shape, penne or farfalle or…, to match the vegetable chunks. I love the lemon, but the family has started asking for a cream sauce instead (philistines.)

  13. Whenever I can’t think of what to make for dinner, I turn to your site. I made this last night. Super quick. Super good. I fed 8 people for less than $10 and everyone loved it!

  14. MR in NJ

    My Microplane is so old that it doesn’t have a handle. Too frugal to replace it! I just use whatever I buy for decades.

    1. Kate

      Ive been making versions of lemon pasta since Amanda Hesser’s lemon-ricotta version, but you’d is the way I make it for my kids. It’s a popular request in our house.

  15. Deb! I learned about Frank Prisinzano’s wonderfully instructive and opinionated Instagram years ago from you (the crispy egg), and as you probably know, he has a pasta limone dish that’s one of his core recipes. It has a ton of butter but no cream. Wondering if you tested his, or something like it, and preferred it without the butter?

  16. Kenny

    Ah the “adult” version of my weakness of just Spaghetti noodles and Parm. If I know one thing, it will be that Parmesan(Or other sharp, aged, grated cheese will) and Pasta combination will do me in. This will be one of them.

  17. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I do this with preserved lemons because I really like making preserved lemons so I’m always looking for a way to use them up!

    This looks amazingly summery.

  18. Kate Nicholson

    I just made this for dinner tonight to go along with some roasted salmon, really delicious and lemony. I may be forced to make some for lunch tomorrow…

  19. Mary Beth Feldman

    Better as a side dish with fish, in my opinion. The recipe was well written and came out well, but the flavors (all that cheese + lemon) are assertive.

  20. Lomavistagirl

    Made this for dinner last night and it was a hit! My 2-year old asked for seconds and my 6-year old asked for thirds :) Next time, I’m definitely making a double batch. I’ll also start the sauce prep while waiting for the water to boil – I waited until the pasta was in the pot before grating the ingredients and I didn’t have time to whisk the sauce to make it smooth. Even so, it was still summery and delicious.

  21. briarrose1987

    We had been running since 8AM today (Saturday) with a soccer game, errands, and yard work. Suddenly it’s almost 1PM and my kids are both having hangry meltdowns. SK and my CSA basil to the rescue! I used pre-grated parm so the sauce was a tiny bit grainy, but everyone snapped it up happily and I was so pleased to not have to settle for junk or turn the oven on, and it was on the table in 15 minutes flat! This is definitely a recipe I’ll be keeping in my back pocket!

  22. Lorraine Simoneau

    I have just made your spaghetti al limone. Wow, sooooo good and so very easy. Just the dish when you want something simple, unfussy that tastes anything but.
    Congrats and thanks, Deb.

  23. Holly

    Made this one lone, Friday night and loved it! I’d been enjoying a version for a few months that depended on heavy cream, loads of butter lots of whisking. This simple version is the best thing I’ve found for the fresh pasta available in my farmer’s market. Paired with fresh Chive & Garlic Linguini, this whole meal was ready in 3 minutes. Bright, bold and full of flavor. This is a keeper.

  24. Ashley M

    Made as directed except I had probably more like 10 ounces of pasta (capellini, not spaghetti) and I like very lemony flavors, so I used slightly more than half a lemon’s worth of zest. Was surprised at how easily the grated cheese, zest, and oil whisked together into a smooth paste; no food processor necessary. More than enough sauce for 10 ounces pasta; did not seem under-sauced and I only used about 1 tablespoon of pasta water while tossing hot pasta. Delicious, light, and lemony! What a great recipe!

  25. JS

    This is delicious! Quick, easy, perfect. I used more lemon zest because I always do. And made a double batch so I have leftovers for lunch.

  26. jjjeanie

    We ate this last night (haha, and the night before!), but I did it in the laziest way possible. I grated the lemon into one bowl, juiced it into another, grated the cheese on the biggest box grater holes, and chopped the basil fine (and left it on the breadboard). I also shelled about a cup of peas, and added them to the pasta water about 1 minute before the pasta was done. After draining the pasta, I just threw all of it together back into the pasta pot (with the oil) and mixed it together with tongs. It was delicious! — I did save out some parmesan to put on top. Too easy, and since we are blessed with a prolific Meyer lemon tree and basil (in pots), I almost always have all the ingredients at hand. How can I miss?

  27. clayton richard

    Made this last night. OUTASIGHT!! The Queen and I both enjoyed. Easy weeknight meal. Had fresh-from-the-garden heirloom tomatoes as a side. It’s now in regular rotation.

  28. Julie

    I made this last night to go along with Merrill’s Chicken Fingers (Food52) and it was amazing! Kids LOVED it, too. Thank you, Deb!

  29. Kris

    I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a 3-ingredient bowl of pasta so much! I’d never much been tempted by the cacio e pepe (I’m probably wrong, so I’m going to try it next) but I love lemon, so I had to give this a go a couple days after you posted the recipe. I bought good quality dried spaghetti , just used the zest of the whole lemon, and used pretty average parmesan, and this was SO good enjoyed on our patio with very simply dressed lettuce from the garden. I almost felt like I lived in Italy rather than a city that is covered in snow and ice 4 months of the year. We’ll definitely make it again. I never got a smooth sauce out of it, but it dressed the pasta very well anyway with only the smallest splash of water. Thanks Deb!

  30. Laurie

    But you forgot to sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top! The secret to life, is pine nuts!!! Otherwise, outstanding easy recipe!

  31. Hannah

    This is delicious!!!! It was super easy to make. It was the perfect amount of lemon and Parmesan. Will definitely become a house favorite.

  32. amandaclaise

    I worked on a cruise ship for almost a year and had spaghetti al limone when I visited the Amalfi Coast and it was so good! I had a craving for noodles, but didn’t want traditional spaghetti, so I began my search and found this recipe! I’ve never made spaghetti al limone before, but can’t wait to try this!

  33. Jen

    Didn’t follow the recipe closely at all but the process! I’ve always put Parmesan into my pasta in the hot pan and it just sticks to the pan making a cleaning chore. I used pre grated Parmesan and eyeballed the rest of the ingredients but was still so pleased with how it turned out! I’m inspired to make this again with good Parm now. So happy to have learned this new technique. Thank you Deb!

  34. Kirsten

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! So fresh and bright tasting. I tried the “sauce” on its own and it was SO strong that I was worried, but once it was covering the pasta it was just right. I made sides of sautéed spinach with garlic and some Trader Joe’s vegetarian chick’n tenders. A bite of pasta was good with a bit of the sides or on its own.

  35. Charity

    I love this so much! I’ve made it at least a half dozen times over the past couple months. Most recently was feeling super lazy and didn’t want to rasp/grate the cheese, so I popped it into my food processor (no grater, just the blade), processed until it looked kind of like couscous, and then added all the rest of the stuff and processed some more. It worked out perfectly!!

  36. Barbara Murray

    This is divine, fast, simple, delicious. We made it for dinner tonight. Sprinkled a few non-peril capers into the finished pasta and a sprinkling of minced fresh Italian Parsley. This recipe is going into the “keeper” file! Thank you!

  37. Kelly

    I love love LOVE this recipe. I’ve used it three times now including once when I had some vegetables nearing the end of their ripeness and this sauce was the perfect vessel.

    I highly suggest you taste as you go and add the lemon juice incrementally. The tartness varies wildly depending on the size of the lemon you use. I used a large lemon the first time I made it (which was great for me, the more lemon the better) but was too much for my boyfriend. I used a medium-sized one the next time I made it, and it was the perfect balance for both of us.

  38. Bree

    I know it’s still all just carbs and cheese, but this looks like a MUCH less heavy version of pasta al limone than Bon Appetit’s recipe, which has cheese and also a half cup of heavy cream and 6 tbsp of butter. I liked that version (honestly, it was SOOO good), but this one looks just as tasty/lemony and less of a wreck on my arteries AND dishes… looking forward to trying!

  39. This is a life saver after a long day, and especially when I haven’t made it to the grocery store in a while! Simple and delicious as written. Tossing in steamed spinach is a good way to get some extra greens when I’m really pressed for time.

  40. Mindy

    Fabulous! Your technique for making the sauce worked perfectly. No clumped cheese!! Like another reviewer I tasted the sauce before adding the pasta and thought it was quite tart but it mellowed considerably after adding the pasta. I will probably add zest of the whole lemon next time, but otherwise no changes needed. I pulled then pasta straight from the pot to the serving bowl with tongs and since some pasta came along with it I needed only a bit of extra pasta water to thin out the sauce. Dish was light but very flavorful. Just lovely. I served it with grilled pesto shrimp.

  41. Myrianne Jones

    Have you ever tried using a vegan parmesan? We have a dairy allergy at our house and was wondering if it would still work.

  42. Amanda McCleod

    I’ve have trouble with both this and the cacio e pepe paste method. I weighed everything and used the correct microplane and it still did not come together until I put the pasta back in the pan and simmered it with a bit of pasta water. Came out tasty but not sure what I’m doing wrong!


    hi!! I use a similar technique for the always tricky carbonara… mixing the egg and the cheese with water, forming a cream and THEN adding it to the pasta… and it actually works better than the (more beautiful on camera, let’s be honest) technique of adding the yolk to the pan….
    I’m sooooo eating pasta this weekend!! thanks!!

  44. Mindy

    I’m sure this is mostly my own user error, but this was a total failure for me. I couldn’t get the texture right and ended up with a really unappetizing mass of cheese and lemon, and I didn’t care for either the texture or the taste.

  45. Boy was that good. I needed to find a recipe to carry over to my friends place and this made everyone think i cook for living lol.. that was fairly simple to do and tasted really damn good.. only that if you spill some on your carpet, thatll be a pain to remove the stain…

  46. Emily McKernan

    Made this with Deb’s kale salad. It was a perfect combo. Preparing the components for the sauce in the serving bowl is oh so streamlined. Recipe writing elegance.

  47. Jess A

    I made this after seeing it in a CNN video,. It’s so simple to make, and very delicious! I will definitely be making this again soon. And I’m so glad to have found your site!

  48. danana

    Well, this was delicious for dinner tonight, and we had everything in the house – I am keeping a couple of lemons on the grocery list, they have been coming in handy lately. Thank you again, as always, for a great idea that we will be enjoying again in the future. I was led to this recipe through your email; we will be having raspberry brown sugar gratin (with frozen raspberries, hope this works) in a little while. Thanks so much! For helping us get through this pandemic – hope you are all doing well!

  49. Gretchen

    Just made this and it’s yummy…then I added chopped walnuts and it got even yummier! Love your recipes. During COVID trying most of them…depending on what I can get my hands on at the local farm stand. Thank you!

  50. Emma

    I’ve made this a few times and love it. I find it’s best with lemons that are a few days old so the lemon flavour doesn’t completely overpower the parmesan, and lots of basil – which means my basil plant is now looking a bit forlorn.

    One thing that I haven’t tested out for myself – could leftovers be reheated, say, a day later? (I haven’t yet had any leftovers to test it for myself.)

  51. Kristan Anderson Norvig

    This pasta was EXCELLENT! I cook a lot, and pasta is commonly cooked in our home, but believe it or not, I’d never made cacio e pepe. I decided to start with this variant (with lemon) and it was so, so, SO good! I followed all the tips ‘n’ tricks in your basic cacio e pepe sauce, and then added the lemon. Bang on! Well done, and I will be using many more of your recipes. Thanks!

  52. Emcee

    Oh, yum. First time making this and I can’t believe how amazingly easy the sauce was, and how perfectly it turned out. I like a little garlic with lemon, so may add that next time. Served with grilled shrimp but you could do quick saute or poach as well. The lemon is amazing with the shrimp….

  53. bethh

    This was SO GOOD, definitely will make this again. I served this along with a summer salad based on your potato + asparagus + gribiche from your book; since it’s July I used green beans instead and I am 100% making both of these a million more times for hot weather. Where has gribiche been all my life??

    But back to this part of the recipe – so delish, and so easy, though it’s amazing how long it takes to finely grate 100g of cheese. Totally worth it, and I’m happy I’ve got some leftovers to enjoy during a heat wave.

    I combined both of the above with Dungeness crab brought back from the Oregon coast and felt pretty delighted with myself.

  54. Rebecca Cartier

    This has by far become my go to pasta dish. Thank you for sharing such a simple yet PERFECT recipe. I recently started making my own pasta and this dish just really makes everything shine. Thanks so much!!!!!

  55. Debra Faust-Clancy

    Hey Deb, I’ve been subscribing to you for many years now. Love your recipes and your writing style. When I saw this ridicuously simple recipe for spaghetti al limone I had an inspiration that I thought I’d pass along to you. I had some leftover blender hollandise from yesterday’s breakfast, so I just heated up some pasta and tossed it with that. Scrumptious. Lemony, and a way to use up leftovers. I double-dog dare ya to try it. LOL All best to ya, Girl.

  56. Jennie

    The work of mere minutes and SOOOO good!! Bright and moreish and balanced and fresh and carbily satisfying. I loved how easy this was. and how great the reward was for the effort.

  57. Erin

    I had a very similar dish during a visit to Florence (once upon a time ago). Instead of the basil, it was sprinkled with mint. It was delicious! I fondly remember the dinner not only because the pasta was so good but also, due to the deep accent of my waiter, I was trying to understand what kind of “meat” (say it with your best Italian accent) it contained. A highly recommended swap when the mood strikes.

  58. Katherine Nicholson

    This, with shrimp and a salad, is the perfect “I don’t have energy to cook” meal. I got everything together in the time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta. Delicious, and simple. Great recipe!

    1. Hydrangea

      We do this dish with shrimp all the time! Of course we crave the pasta, but the shrimp adds protein and assuages the guilt of a meal built completely of carbs. The lemon is perfect with the shrimp. Just toss cooked, peeled shrimp in with the sauce and pasta, or add them on top. Tomorrow night’s dinner, I think…

  59. Jo Jo Hicks

    Deb made this today for my MahJong group and it is absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing your passion, you are a true gift.

  60. Jo Jo Hicks

    Hi Deb, you recipe calls for 31/2oz of parm. I weighed my while I grated it and it was alot of parm. I only used less then an oz. If I weighed it first would that have made a difference? I figured 3.12 ozs was the same whether grated first or weighed as a chunk.

  61. Jeanette

    Deb, can you recommend your favorite store brands of pasta for dishes like this, where the quality of the pasta is very important? Thanks!

  62. evonne wetzner

    just had this at lil’ frankie’s on the LES! used to order it all the time when i lived in NYC in the 90s and have been trying to recreate it since then :) was so happy it was still on the menu at all of the “frank” restaurants!

  63. Bette

    My favorite pasta is bucatini, so that’s what I used. I was thinking about adding some microplaned garlic, but I’m glad I didn’t. Served it with roast chicken and brussels sprout halved and braised in olive oil and garlic, then spritzed withlemon just before serving. It was a lovely meal.


  64. Jennifer

    First time making this dish-and on a 90 degree day no less! Pasta always sounds ‘heavy’ to me but this was light and delicious-the lemon zest and juice really made the difference. Also-definitely garnish with basil leaves-wonderful combination of flavors.

  65. Rebecca

    I make a similar version of this but instead of basil I use arugula. I also throw in a healthy pinch of garlic & red pepper flakes. Delicious!

  66. Liz

    I tried this recipe, following it to a tee, and like I had with the Cacio e Pepe, the sauce just didn’t come together. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the cheese mixture clumps, doesn’t emulsify, and doesn’t stick to the pasta. Any thoughts about what might be going wrong?

    1. deb

      You’re not using pre-grated cheese, are you? That’s a big culprit with clumpiness. In general, however, if it clumps, it melted off the pasta, either there was too much liquid before the cheese could adhere or it got too hot.

  67. Kristin

    WOW this was fantastic!!! Excited to try your technique on cacio e pepe too, as I’ve struggled with clumping cheese in the past

  68. erin

    I will forever remember my dinner in Florence. I had a very similar dish but with mint instead of basil. Delicious. It really stuck with me because of the flavors and simplicity, but also because I couldn’t understand the waiter. He kept trying to explain “mint” to me but with his accent all I could get was “meat” and I kept asking what kind. He finally came back with a piece of mint from the kitchen. :)

  69. Sharon H

    The simplest way to make spaghetti al limone is also my favorite, enlisting an uncooked sauce, but no cream, butter, or other clutter. It’s sunny and triumphant, a delicious way to end a long way.”

    Did you mean a long DAY??