Close this search box.

Mid-Week Lemon Pasta with Fresh Basil

This Lemon Pasta is fresh, zesty and ready to serve in just 15 minutes. You need only 5 basic ingredients to create a delicious vegetarian dish flavoured with lemon, garlic, parmesan, fresh basil and black pepper. Perfect for creating mid-week magic!

lemon and parmesan bucatini with fresh basil

We all have those days where we’re short on time, energy, or ingredients. Or in a worst case scenario, all three. That’s where this little recipe really shines. It’s luscious and creamy, but still zesty and fresh thanks to the lemon and Basil.

And so moreish that I’m willing to bet there won’t be any leftovers.

If you’re looking for some other great pasta dishes, maybe give this Pasta Alla Norma a go or if you like a little bite to your pasta, try this Chipotle Mushroom Pappardelle.

The Secret to My Lemon Pasta Sauce

It’s a simple hack, but one that creates a far richer, creamier flavour to this humble lemon pasta recipe: 
I use butter. 
And the second secret to this sauce is allowing the fresh basil to steep and infuse the butter with a subtle basil flavour.

Pasta Water for the Win

If you’re a fan of pasta (who isn’t?), get into the habit of not pouring out the water left behind once your pasta is cooked and reserve a cup or two. It looks cloudy due to the starch present and this is exactly what makes it an excellent binder and thickener. We use pasta water to emulsify the sauce, leaving you with a gorgeously glossy lemon pasta sauce.

lemon and parmesan bucatini with fresh basil

Bucatini or Spaghetti?

Why use Bucatini instead of Spaghetti? 

Bucatini pasta looks like spaghetti, but is slightly thicker and is hollow in the centre. And this is its charm – that hollow gives it the ability to capture more of the delicious lemony sauce, ensuring that every single mouthful is saucy and delicious.

Bucatini is frequently used to create Cacio e Pepe, which is a simple dish of pasta, black pepper and pecorino cheese, where the insides and outsides get coated with the accompanying sauce. Our friends across the pond may be more familiar with its US name – perciatelli.  Whatever you call it, it’s fantastic when paired with this yummy lemon pasta sauce.  

When Life Hands You Lemons

Aside from the delicious citrusy zing, the acid present in lemons is a flavour enhancer in the same way that salt is. The tartness of the lemon juice and zest cuts through the richness of the pasta and Parmesan cheese, creating a balanced and refreshing dish.

When choosing your lemons for this lemon pasta, select ones that are ripe and have a strong citrusy aroma. We’re used to the perfect blemish-free produce, but the truth is the bumpy, pockmarked gnarled lemons that you get off the tree are the most flavourful. The zest of the lemon is also an important addition, so be sure to use a zester to remove it but avoid the bitter white pith.

Rate My Mid-Week Lemon Pasta with Fresh Basil

Did you put my Lemon Pasta with Fresh Basil to the test? Tell me about it! Please leave me a comment, give this recipe a rating, and remember to tag your photo#theculinarycartelon Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any other Pasta other than Bucatini that I can use?

Bucatini wins first prize, but I always encourage you to use what you have readily available – whether that’s spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, tagliatelle or pappardelle. And if all you have in your pantry is a bag of penne – I won’t tell if you don’t. 

Can I substitute Olive Oil for Butter?

Yes, you could substitute butter with olive oil, but you’ll forfeit the rich creaminess that makes this sauce a winner.


lemon and parmesan bucatini with fresh basil
lemon and parmesan bucatini with fresh basil
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
lemon and parmesan bucatini with fresh basil

Mid-Week Lemon Pasta with Fresh Basil

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Lemon Pasta is fresh, zesty and ready to serve in just 15 minutes. You need just 5 basic ingredients to create a delicious vegetarian dish flavoured with lemon, garlic, Parmesan, fresh Basil and black pepper. Perfect for creating mid-week magic!



From Your Pantry:

  • 40g butter
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Your 5 Ingredients

  • 200g Bucatini pasta
  • 5g fresh basil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 75g parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1 cup / 120 ml of pasta water



  1. Start by cooking your pasta. Cook the bucatini according to the packet instructions in a large pot of salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare all your ingredients as this recipe comes together really quickly. Zest the lemon and squeeze the lemon juice, then grate the Parmesan.
  3. In a frying pan add the butter and a basil leaf. Let the basil infuse the butter as it melts and once it bubbles, remove the basil leaf and add the lemon zest and grate in a clove of garlic. After a minute or so squeeze in half of the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup /120 ml of the pasta water. Add this to the lemon butter. Allow to reduce until the butter sauce thickens, concentrating the starchy pasta water.
  5. Toss the pasta through.
  6. Add lots of freshly ground pepper and sprinkle on the parmesan. Let this sit for 30 seconds before tossing together, letting the cheese melt into the sauce to create a glossy sauce without clumps of cheese.
  7. Finish with the remaining lemon juice.
  8. Top with finely chopped basil and more cheese.

That’s it – you’re ready to serve.


  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Category: Pasta
Share this recipe!

4 Responses

  1. Very nice light and fresh dinner. We aren’t vegetarian so I added shrimp. We also love very spicy food so I added a couple tablespoons of garlic chili sauce.

  2. I usually never comment I always use the recipes and appreciate it, but coming across your Instagram account and recreating your recipes I can say that it has been a crowd pleaser!! So simple so tasty so so good you’re amazing I love every recipe you make – thank you so much for all your efforts and for introducing us to what great food is 🤍 This recipe is excellent as is so soo soooo good

  3. Thank you so much for the kind words! It is such a joy to create things that bring so much happiness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Join the Cartel

Indulge in mouthwatering recipes, secret ingredients, and expert cooking tips straight from our culinary masterminds.