This pasta with a creamy lemon sauce and just a hint of heat has been my lunch and dinner for a couple of days now.
I’d been craving Brussels sprouts for a while and I chose to load the pasta with them; feel free to use whichever vegetable you might happen to be craving. This dish keeps well in the refrigerator and reheats nicely, so it is a great option for lunches too.
The entire meal comes together in very little time at all, making this my favorite kind of recipe. The lemon keeps this pasta fresh and light, while the pepper adds just a bit of unexpected heat.
If you aren’t a fan of much heat in your recipes, start with a tiny pinch of the pepper flakes and add more after tasting it.
As the main Brussels sprouts fan in our house, I loved every single bite of this dish. However, the rest of my crew enjoyed their pasta without my beloved Brussels sprouts. So, feel free to tweak the recipe however you like.
Mushrooms and tomatoes would be great with this pasta, as well as asparagus tips, broccoli, or almost any other vegetable you love. This is an extremely versatile recipe and will work well with almost any vegetable.
Creamy Lemon Pasta
- 10-12 ounces angel hair pasta plus 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Optional: 1 pound Brussels sprouts sliced thin, or the alternate vegetable of your choice
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- zest of 1 lemon about 2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 2 - 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt to the water and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Scoop out 1 cup of cooking water and set aside before draining the pasta.
- In the same pot used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. If desired, add the Brussels sprouts and cook them, stirring occasionally, until bright green, hot, and slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt while cooking. Remove the vegetables to a small bowl.
- There should still be a coating of butter on the bottom of the pot. If there is not, add another tablespoon of butter and let it melt. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes to the empty pot and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cream, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the pasta back to the pot, along with the cooked Brussels sprouts. Toss well to coat and add lemon juice, to taste. Season with additional salt, as needed. Gradually add the pasta water while tossing the pasta, until the sauce is as creamy as you like. Enjoy!