One-pot lemon pasta

It’s been a strange few weeks for all of us, and lately, it’s been getting the best of me.  I usually consider myself to be a really happy go lucky kind of girl.  I can usually see the “good” in just about any situation.  But lately, I haven’t been feeling myself.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just feel off.  A little more tired, a little more impatient, a little more….just not me.

Rather than fighting it, I’m just going with it. Letting myself linger in bed a little longer. Snuggle with the kids a little more.  Chat with JP on the couch a little more with just one more cup of coffee.  

Instead of feeling guilty about not being “on” right now – I’m just trying to remember that as quickly as these feelings came, they will just as quickly go.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Next month, next week and even the next day will bring more changes – good and bad.  So I’m trying to not let myself get too attached to any of it (the good or the bad). And letting it all go.

These days I’m just focusing my energy on things that make me happy.  A great strong cup of coffee before the kids wake up.  Long walks along the beach.  And all the pasta I can get.

Pasta has been a huge love of mine for years.  I lived in Italy years ago when I was in college and was a line chef at an amazing Italian restaurant here in Chicago.  So pasta (and really ALL Italian food) has a special place in my heart.

If I could eat pasta every day, I would (and right now I kind of am), and this one-pot lemon pasta would be at the top of my list.

I love this one-pot lemon pasta for its simplicity – both in ingredients and in cooking technique.

Italian cooking is all about simple ingredients, used well and cooked with love.  Here, such simple ingredients; lemon, butter, pasta, are all allowed to shine.  Simple rustic flavors, done well.  

All things most of us have in our fridge or pantry.  But all things that could be swapped out if not.  If you don’t have parsley, use arugula, or basil or spinach, or water you DO have.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  And if you don’t have panko bread crumbs, used chopped up pretzels or nuts or anything crunchy you have on hand. 

Cooking this one-pot lemon pasta couldn’t be easier.  10 minutes with everything dumped into one big pot.  Super easy for a fast weeknight dinner, but delicious enough for a Friday night dinner party (whenever those happen again). 

I love how the starch released from the pasta while it cooks, creates this velvety creamy sauce, with absolutely no cream or cheese.  It keeps the dish light and simple but still feels rich and satisfying.  

I hope you love it as much as we do.  Enjoy!

One-pot lemon pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 lb of spaghetti, linguini or bucatini
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 lemons
  • 2½ cups of chicken stock
  • 2 (or possibly 3) cups of water
  • ¼ cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • salt/pepper
  • ½ tsp of red pepper flakes
  1. In a large dutch oven, over medium/low heat add 3 tbsp of butter and olive oil, along with the sliced shallots. Cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and salt/pepper. Cook for an additional minute, being careful not to burn the garlic
  3. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, 2½ cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water (you may need to add more water later depending on your particular brand of pasta). Stir together to combine and bring to a simmer. Carefully add the pasta to the pot. Place the lid on the pot and increase heat to a low boil.
  4. Continue cooking the pasta at a low boil, checking on it every few minutes, using tongs to "mix" the pasta and ensure it's not sticking together or sticking to the bottom of the pot. It's important to check on the noodles every few minutes so they don't stick. You may also need to add a little more liquid depending on your pasta (every pasta brand/shape cooks a little different). Add in ½ cup of liquid at a time if you feel like the pasta needs more.
  5. Meanwhile, create the toasted bread crumbs by melting the additional 2 tbsp of butter in a pan over medium/low heat. Then add the cup of panko bread combs. Toss and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes on low heat until breadcrumbs are toasted. Set aside.
  6. Continue cooking the pasta until it's al dente - about 8-9 minutes (but again, adjust according to your brand of pasta and personal preference. You may need an additional minute or two, but remember, the pasta will continue cooking - so don't overcook it).
  7. The pasta will naturally create a sauce from the starch of the noodles and the cooking liquid. But you may want to add another ½ cup of either chicken stock or water if it feels too "thick".
  8. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and add in the chopped parsley, the juice of the second lemon, toasted breadcrumbs, a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt/pepper to taste. Mix well, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  9. To serve, top with additional bread crumbs, parsley, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

For other easy pasta recipes be sure to check out our Cavatappi with spring onions and morels or our roasted butternut squash pasta.  Two of my other favorite pasta recipes.  

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