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Pasta al Limone is Perfect for Summer

Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani share a citrusy, Southern Italian pasta recipe from their new book "The Olive Oil Enthusiast."

6:16 AM EDT on August 7, 2023

a plate of Pasta al Limone on a wooden table.

Pasta al Limone. Photo by Andrew Cotto.

Light and refreshing, Pasta al Limone is originally from the region of Campania, but it’s enjoyed throughout Italy, especially during the summer. During the scorching Calabrian summers, we make and eat this dish on Giuseppe’s parents’ breezy second-floor balcony, which has beautiful views of the Ionian Sea. You can bring some of this Mediterranean magic into your home by using very fresh lemons and herbs.

Pasta al Limone

Pasta al Limone

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Recipe by Skyler Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani Course: Main, pastaCuisine: Italian


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 tablespoons 3 butter

  • 1 1 garlic clove, smashed

  • Zest and juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon

  • 3 tablespoons 3 extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • 3/4 3/4 pound spaghetto quadrato or no. 8 spaghetti

  • 6 6 basil or mint leaves, chopped

  • 1/4 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano


  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat for 20 seconds.
  • Add the butter and garlic.
  • Cook until the garlic begins to gently turn brown, about 3 minutes, then remove and discard the garlic.
  • Continue browning the butter until it is a very light golden brown, then add the lemon zest and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Add the olive oil, stir, and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, add salt (the water should taste salty).
  • Cook the pasta until 2 or 3 minutes before al dente.
  • Reserve at least 11⁄2 cups of pasta water.
  • Add a ladle of pasta water to the brown butter mixture and set it over high heat.
  • Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the pasta and cook on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly and adding more pasta water as needed.
  • One minute before the pasta is done cooking, stir in the lemon juice.
  • Turn off the heat, add the basil and Parmigiano Reggiano, and stir.
  • Serve immediately.

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