One-Pot Lemon Basil Parmesan Pasta

Quick and filling, my one-pot lemon basil parmesan pasta can quickly become a dinner-time favorite. It coats spaghetti in a rich sauce of butter, garlic, parmesan, chili, and lemon. Topped with fresh herbs, lemon zest, and parmesan, this is Italian-inspired cooking at its simplest!

Lemon basil parmesan pasta

Here’s What You’ll Need

Let’s start with the ingredients. Before you start cooking, assemble the following:

Ingredients for the lemon basil parmesan pasta
  • Pasta – 1 lb (450 grams) spaghetti
  • Garlic – 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Chili Flakes – 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or more to taste)
  • Parmesan – 2 cups grated Parmesan (about 3.5 oz or 100 grams)
  • Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest – zest and juice from 2 large lemons
  • Fresh Herbs – a handful of fresh basil (about 4 tbsp finely chopped)
  • Butter – 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

This dish is inspired by the traditional Italian dish Pasta al Limone but it also has fresh basil and chili flakes.

How to Make It with Step-by-Step Photos

Step 1 – Boil the pasta until almost al dente (generally for the time indicated on the package minus 30-60 seconds). Reserve one cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta, and set it aside.

Boiling the pasta in salted water

Step 2 – In the same pot, melt the butter and add the chili flakes, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Sauté them for about 30 seconds, stirring.

Chili flakes and minced garlic in butter

Step 3 – Add the lemon juice and zest from one lemon and mix it all in. Then add the pasta, stirring well so it absorbs the lemon juice and butter along with the spices.

Adding the spaghetti to the butter chili garlic

Step 4 – Add parmesan a bit at a time and pasta water a bit at a time, alternating while mixing everything so the sauce emulsifies. You may use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pasta water, depending on how the sauce emulsifies.

Emulsifying the sauce

Step 5 – Taste and add more lemon juice as needed. I prefer it with the juice from two large lemons, but my family prefers it with the juice of one. So adjust to your taste. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can also add more chili flakes and parmesan to taste.

Step 6 – Add the finely chopped fresh basil, stirring everything in. Serve and enjoy!

Lemon basil parmesan pasta

Get your fork and spoon at the ready, and enjoy a mouthful full of zest, freshness, and rich, buttery goodness!

Lemon basil parmesan pasta

Some Serving Ideas for You

With its rich sauce and starchy spaghetti, in our house, we can eat this on its own with nothing else. However, if you do want to mix things up, here are some ideas.

I have served this with tender, pan-fried chicken breast in the past. If you have a little more time, you could serve this with some of my crispy chicken tenders.

Along with lemon zest, basil, and parmesan, you could also top it with nuts (pine nuts), additional herbs, or croutons.

Oh, and for a classic, why not go with a buttery garlic bread and a crisp white wine?

Love Pasta? Here’s Another Recipe to Try

My easy basil pesto pasta can be ready in 15 minutes. It’ll also show you how to make your own homemade pesto, which is really easy.

For those evenings when I’m tired, these recipes really are lifesavers. I always have spaghetti stocked up in the pantry, and I can pick these ingredients up quickly from the store when I’m out.

All-in-One-Place Recipe Card

One-Pot Lemon Basil Parmesan Pasta

One-Pot Lemon Basil Parmesan Pasta

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 grams) spaghetti
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan (about 3.5 oz or 100 grams)
  • zest and juice from 2 large lemons
  • a handful of fresh basil (about 4 tbsp finely chopped)
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta until almost al dente (generally for the time indicated on the package minus 30-60 seconds). Reserve one cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta, and set it aside.
  2. In the same pot, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chili flakes, lemon zest, and minced garlic. Sauté them for about 30 seconds, stirring.
  3. Add the lemon juice and zest from one lemon and mix it all in. Then add the pasta, stirring well so it absorbs the lemon juice and butter along with the spices.
  4. Add parmesan a bit at a time and pasta water a bit at a time, alternating while mixing everything so the sauce emulsifies. You may use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pasta water, depending on how the sauce emulsifies.
  5. Taste and add more lemon juice as needed. I prefer it with the juice from two large lemons, but my family prefers it with the juice of one. So adjust to your taste. You can also add freshly ground black pepper, flaky sea salt, more chili flakes, and parmesan to taste.
  6. Add the finely chopped fresh basil, stirring everything in. Serve and enjoy!

I really hope this pasta adds another simple yet delicious option to your dinner roster. Let me know below what you loved most about this dish!

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