This one pan pasta with lemon and garlic is super simple and comes together in less than 30 minutes! Using simple pantry ingredients, you can be a dinner time hero tonight!
“This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.”
Why does one pan pasta work so well?
Simple ingredients, quick cook time and only one pan. Need I say more 😊.
But really, the reason this recipe works so well is that the pasta water becomes the "sauce". No draining of pasta here. You add the pasta to the water and add a ton of flavor to it. The pasta then absorbs the water and the added flavors (here it’s lemon and garlic) as it cooks.
It is endlessly adaptable once you get the hang of method of cooking the pasta in the water that will become the sauce. I love this method and have use it to make pasta with a tomato basil sauce and a pasta primavera dish (that's divine, I must say).
A few notes on the ingredients:
Pasta shape: I like to use spaghetti noodles in this one pot pasta dish, but you can use any long pasta you like. When choosing other shapes remember to alter the cooking time and water amounts.
Simple step by step instructions
In a large saute pan add in the pasta, lemon, garlic, salt, and water. Turn the flame onto medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Once it boils, turn down the heat so the water is just simmering and cook until the pasta is just past al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Then add in the parmesan cheese and mix well to incorporate. To serve, squeeze in a little more lemon juice, add a twist of black pepper and enjoy!
Using frozen garlic and other herbs
There are two brands of these that I have been using, Gefen and Dorot, but they do exactly the same thing. These garlic and herb cubes defrost in your dish as your are cooking and melt right into the other ingredients.
When you don’t feel like smelling like garlic, grating ginger, mincing onions or pureeing basil, these are a GREAT alternative.
I’ve found them at my local grocery store and Trader Joe’s, so you should be able to get them at your local grocery pretty easily. I keep them in my freezer at all times and they make adding flavor to dishes super simple!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely. You'll likely need to adjust the amount of water you use because, like different pasta shapes absorb water differently, so does gluten free pasta vs. regular pasta.
Yes, however, it will add some of the flavor from the stock into the dish. I recommend using a mild flavored one, or a chicken stock as an alternative. If you keep kosher or follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, the Imagine brand No Chicken, Chicken stock is highly recommended. It's a pantry staple for us!
I'm a big fan of charred broccoli with this dish, but any green roasted vegetable would be a great side dish. You could also make a big green salad with a lemon vinaigrette to lighten things up.
One more simple tip
If you find that your pasta is not cooked as much as you would like and the liquid has been absorbed, go ahead and add more. Start with ½ cup at a time until the pasta is cooked and there is a little bit of liquid left in the pan. Every pasta brand absorbs water a little bit differently, so the amount you will want to add will vary.
Looking for more simple pasta recipes? Try these:
When you try this recipe and love it 😍 let me know by leaving a comment below or 5 ⭐ rating!
One Pan Lemon and Garlic Pasta
- 1 16 oz box of spaghetti
- ¼ cup of butter ½ stick
- 3 cubes frozen garlic
- 2 lemons zested and juiced
- 4 cups of water
- ¾ cups Parmesan cheese finely grated
- salt & pepper to taste
- Add water, pasta, butter, frozen garlic, frozen basil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to a large sauté pan.
- Bring to a rapid boil
- Once rapidly boiling, reduce heat to medium (should still be boiling gently) and cook until water is almost completely evaporated. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
- If pasta is not quite cooked and water is nearly gone, add a bit more hot water to the pan (I start at ¼ cup).
- Once pasta is cooked through and just a small bit of water remains, turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Mix until it's well incorporated into the pasta.
- Serve immediately with another sprinkle of cheese, spritz of lemon and turn of black pepper.
Want more recipes like this delivered right to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe below and never miss a thing!