Lemon spaghetti

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I can’t remember the origin of this recipe. All I know is I have been cooking it for years and I never tire of it. We all should have a repertoire of recipes that fall into the when-I-can’t-be-bothered-to-think category (tuna melt, cheese toastie, steak sandwich, etc). You know, when you are exhausted and don’t want to spend hours prepping, cleaning, shopping. Lemon spaghetti is one of those. It couldn’t be simpler.


  • spaghetti (or any other pasta you fancy)
  • 1 lemon
  • approximately 250ml (8oz) double cream
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Reggiano)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


  • Large saucepan
  • Small saucepan
  • Grater


  1. Boil enough water to cook your pasta. Add salt and, if you fancy, a little olive oil. (Incidentally, I maintain that the olive is completely unnecessary in pasta water save for adding a little flavor.)
  2. Meanwhile add the cream to a small saucepan along with half the Parmesan, the zest of a lemon (less if it’s too tart for your taste) and at least half of the lemon’s juice. (The quantities of these ingredients should not be set in stone. More cream for a wetter sauce, more lemon for extra bite, more cheese if you are so inclined.)
  3. When the pasta is two minutes from being cooked, warm the creamy sauce (but don’t let it boil).
  4. Strain the pasta and stir in the sauce.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and a twist of pepper. Place the remainder of the cheese (along with a grater and the rest of the block of parmesan) in a bowl on the table for you and your guests to sprinkle as liberally as they see fit on their dish.
Re: Lemon spaghetti

David: Mmmm, this recipe sounds great, and I can’t wait to try it - tonight! Add some chicken and it’s like lemon chicken with pasta.

Question: Is ‘double cream’ sweet? Because American ‘whipped cream’ is sweet and most often used for desserts. It’s quite a unique ingredient for pasta!

Thanks and happy cooking, Beth

Re: Lemon spaghetti

Beth, double cream is whipping cream before you whip it and add sugar so, no, it is not sweet.

Re: Lemon spaghetti

I think Americans also refer to is as ‘heavy cream’. It’s definitely not the stuff that squirts out of a can!

Re: Lemon spaghetti