You know those simple, easy recipes that you turn to when it's 5:30 pm and you realize you have nothing planned for dinner? This is one of those recipes. You know those delicious yet quick-to-prepare recipes that you turn to when you have last-minute company coming? This, too, is one of those recipes. To be honest, I'm not a big pasta fan in general, but this recipe has become my and my husband's favorite quick and easy recipe. It can be thrown together in 20 minutes, but is just tasty enough to be guest-worthy. I love having recipes that are flavorful and delicious but easy and quickly prepared at the same time.
The lemon flavor is refreshing and light, which pairs surprisingly well with freshly-tossed pasta for a delicious meal that just bursts with the flavors of Spring and Summer. And I like to call this a 'starter' recipe... you start with the basic ingredients, and you can add more lemon juice or zest if you prefer a stronger or more intense lemon flavor, use more cream & butter for a heavier sauce, or add more herbs if you want to go that route. It's a great basic starter recipe; my husband is quite the flavor 'purist,' and prefers the simple lemon recipe below. Start out with the basics below and feel free to play around until you find your perfect fit.
2 T. Butter
2 T. Olive Oil
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 small Lemons or 1.5 large Lemons
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
3/4 cup cream or half and half
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground Pepper (or to taste)
1/4 cup+ shredded parmesan cheese
12 - 16 oz. linguini pasta (depends how 'saucy' you like your pasta)
Over medium-low heat, saute minced garlic in melted butter and olive oil. Add the fresh lemon juice and lemon zest and stir. Stirring constantly, add cream, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook and stir until the cream thickens somewhat and flavors have melded. (I like to add half+ of the parmesan cheese and stir constantly until cheese is melted into the sauce before tossing with pasta. If you prefer the added texture of freshly grated parmesan cheese, simply add just before serving when tossing with the pasta.) Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente; drain well. Toss pasta with lemon cream sauce and parmesan cheese; top generously with chopped parsley, an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste.
*I usually serve this with the Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken found here, which I often just broil in the oven, and then thinly slice. Top warm pasta with chicken strips, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over and top with more parsley and parmesan cheese. Pairs wonderfully with roasted asparagus or a leafy green salad.