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Basil Pasta with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

This delicious recipe features all the classic ingredients that you would expect in a Basil Pasta – lots of fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, butter, garlic, and fresh lemon.  It’s an easy and quick recipe that requires only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes of your time!  This meatless pasta dish is perfect in the Summer or whenever you have an abundance of fresh basil.  The recipe uses basic everyday ingredients and is perfect for family meals.

basil pasta with lemon garlic butter sauce on a white plate

Refreshing, meatless pasta

This recipe has no cream, no heavy cream, no half-and-half.  Yet, this basil pasta is packed with flavor thanks to several simple yet flavorful ingredients.  First, thinly sliced lemon is cooked with butter and a lot of garlic to release the delicious lemon juice infused with pan-roasted garlic.   Now, you have a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce!  Then, cooked bow-tie pasta, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and chopped fresh basil are all added in and combined with lemon garlic butter sauce.  The final touches include even more chopped fresh basil (did I say this pasta had lots of basil?!) and toasted pine nuts.

If you enjoy pasta recipes that use fresh basil, you will love this chicken basil pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes and pine nuts and chicken basil pesto pasta with mushrooms.

Simple and easy to make

This basil pasta features only 7 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper).  The recipe uses basic everyday ingredients and is perfect for family meals. There is no complicated cream sauce involved.  Just butter, lots of garlic, fresh lemon juice from lemon slices, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese – that’s what coats the pasta and brings so much flavor to this dish.  Add in a lot of fresh basil and toasted pine nuts, and you have a delicious simple pasta.  It looks beautiful and sophisticated yet takes only 30 minutes of your time!

basil pasta with lemon garlic butter sauce in a cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • Salted butter.  Since there is no other sauce involved in this basil pasta, go generous with the butter.  The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, and you might want to use a little bit more extra if you like.  Use salted, high-quality butter such as Kerrygold brand (Irish butter) – you will taste the butter quality in this recipe!
  • Garlic.  Go bold with garlic.  It’s so good for you!  I used 6 cloves of it and could’ve used even more.  Cook the garlic in butter just until garlic browns but not burns.
  • Lemon.  I prefer to use Meyer lemon.  It’s less acidic with still a very lemony flavor.  Use only ½ of the lemon and slice it very thinly before adding to the skillet.
  • Pasta.  To make it easy for the butter and the grated Parmesan cheese to coat the pasta, use short pasta, such as farfalle (bow-tie pasta).  You can also use fusilli or penne.
  • Parmesan cheese.  Use a block of cheese and grate it yourself right before adding it to the pasta.  The fresher the cheese, the better the pasta will taste!
  • Pine nuts. Lightly toast the pine nuts in the preheated oven at 350 F for only 5 minutes. Watch the oven carefully – the nuts can burn quickly. Toasted pine nuts acquire a beautiful color, even stronger nutty flavor, and a subtle soft crunch. They are delicious over the basil pasta!
  • Cracked black pepper.  Use only freshly cracked black pepper that you grind yourself from the peppercorns.  You can use any color of peppercorns: black, white, green, etc.  Do not use regular pepper, it won’t taste the same.  Only use peppercorns that you grind yourself into cracked black pepper.

How to make basil pasta

Add butter, thinly sliced lemon (only half of a lemon), and minced fresh garlic to a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

lemon slices and minced garlic in a cast iron skillet

Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until lemon slices brown and release juices and minced garlic is browned but not burned.

cooked lemon slices and minced garlic in a cast iron skillet

Remove from heat and add 2 more tablespoons of butter until it melts.

butter, cooked lemon slices, minced garlic in a cast iron skillet

Remove lemon slices from the skillet.  Add hot, drained, and cooked pasta and stir everything well.

cooked bow tie pasta in a cast iron skillet


Add 2 more tablespoons of butter (sliced).

sliced butter on top of bow tie pasta in a cast iron skillet

Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

grated Parmesan cheese on top of bow tie pasta in a cast iron skillet

Stir the cheese with pasta on low-medium heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt, if desired. Add half of the fresh chopped basil to hot pasta.

chopped fresh basil on top of bow tie pasta in a cast iron skillet


When ready to serve, top the pasta with the remaining half of fresh chopped basil, toasted pine nuts, and cracked black pepper.

chopped fresh basil and toasted pine nuts on top of bow tie pasta in a cast iron skillet

What to serve with basil pasta

Other refreshing recipes

If you’re looking for more recipes where basil stars as the key ingredient, take a look at these:

basil pasta with lemon garlic butter sauce on a white plate

Basil Pasta with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

This delicious recipe features all the classic ingredients that you would expect in a Basil Pasta – lots of fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, butter, garlic, and fresh lemon.  It’s an easy and quick recipe that requires only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes of your time!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time20 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Mediterranean

Keyword: basil pasta

Servings: 4 people

Calories: 589kcal

Author: Julia

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter divided
  • 5 cloves garlic fresh, minced
  • ½ lemon (preferably Meyer lemon) thinly sliced
  • 8 oz pasta (I used farfalle or bow-tie pasta)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 4 oz fresh basil
  • ½ cup pine nuts lightly toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste (use black cracked pepper)

Instructions

  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced lemon, and minced fresh garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until lemon slices brown and release juices and minced garlic is browned but not burned. Remove from heat and add 2 more tablespoons of butter. Stir until it melts. Remove lemon slices from the skillet.

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook al dente according to package instructions. Drain pasta.

  • Add hot, drained, and cooked pasta to the cast-iron skillet with butter and garlic. Stir everything well.

  • Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir on low-medium heat for a couple of minutes to spread out the cheese among the pasta and melt it a bit. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt.

  • Add half of the fresh chopped basil to hot pasta and mix everything well.

  • When ready to serve, top with the remaining half of fresh chopped basil, toasted pine nuts, and cracked black pepper.

Notes

  • Lemon.  I prefer to use Meyer lemon.  It’s less acidic than regular lemons.  Use only ½ of the lemon and slice it very thinly.
  • Pine nuts. Lightly toast the pine nuts in the preheated oven at 350 F for only 5 minutes. Watch the oven carefully – the nuts can burn quickly. 
  • Cracked black pepper.  Use only freshly cracked black pepper that you grind yourself from the peppercorns.  You can use any color of peppercorns: black, white, green, etc.  Do not use regular pepper, it won’t taste the same.  

Nutrition

Nutrition Information

Basil Pasta with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

Saturated Fat

Trans Fat

Polyunsaturated Fat

Monounsaturated Fat

Cholesterol

Potassium

Carbohydrates

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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