Pasta with lemon, butter, and herbs

Pasta does not have to be served with complicated long cooking sauces or even quick Marinara sauces. Pasta does not have to be a gut busting heavy dish, especially with meat sauces.

It can be fresh and bright tasting.

A few simple ingredients and short cooking time can produce a delicious and pretty dish.

I was able to obtain some home grown oregano and sage at the Chicago Food Swap yesterday. I had some flat leaf parsley in the fridge.

I made a pasta sauce with olive oil, butter, fresh lemon juice, pinche of the herbs, and a few other ingredients. I used the rest of the herbs to top the pasta along with some Parmesan cheese.

The key to this recipe is low heat. Preferably a simmer, if your stove goes that low. You want to sweat the flavors out of the sauce ingredients.


1/2 cup olive oil

2 oz. (Half stick) unsalted butter

1- bay leaf

1- dried hot red pepper (Optional)

2- cloves of garlic smashed

Kosher or coarse sea salt

Crushed black pepper

Juice and grated rind of two large lemons

1/3 cup minced fresh sage leaves

1/3 cup minced fresh oregano

1/3 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley minced

1- pound pasta

Sugar (See Directions)


Bring six quarts of salted water to a boil

Heat a olive oil and butter in sauce pan over medium heat.

Mix all herbs and lemon rind and set aside.

When butter starts to melt turn down heat as low as possible.

Add garlic, shallot, bay leaf, red pepper, if using, pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper.

Add lemon juice and a pinch of herb mixture.

Cook until garlic and shallot are translucent. Do not let garlic and shallots brown or take on color.

Taste. If lemon flavor is bitter or too sour add a pinch of sugar.

Strain sauce to remove all solids.

Cook pasta per package instructions for al dente.

Before draining pasta, add 1/4 cup of pasta water to sauce. Reserve 1/2 cup.

Whisk the sauce until an emulsion forms.

Drain pasta and place in mixing bowl.

Add sauce to coat pasta evenly. If pasta is stiff or dry add reserved water a 1/4 cup at a time until it is right.

Plate. Top each serving with cheese and a hefty portion of minced herbs lemon rind mixture.

Serves four.



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