Lemon Spaghetti with Broccolini and Shrimp

Lemon Spaghetti is a pretty easy dish to make – toss some fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan together, throw it over some hot, cooked spaghetti (or pasta of your choice) and you’ve got a great-tasting meal.

Leave it to me to make it more complicated.

lemon spaghetti pasta recipe

I’m on one of my must-clean-out-our-freezers kick and, since seafood doesn’t fare well frozen for too long, I decided to add shrimp.

Then, since I had store-bought broccolini in the fridge that’s been ignored for a week due to us being inundated with veggies from the garden, I decided that was going in also.

Hence the reason my 20-minute Sunday Night Dinner turned into 45 minutes of steaming, chopping and broiling.

For the faint of heart, here’s the simple and basic Lemon Spaghetti recipe. If you like lemons, please try this…it’s truly delicious. And easy. I promise.

Lemon Spaghetti with Broccolini and Shrimp Recipe

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice – about 3-4 large lemons
  • 1 cup of hot pasta water
  • A few large, fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slices
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and Parmesan.  If you prefer, you can leave out the zest and add it as a garnish at the end.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Try to cook it just to al dente’ – this is really better with the pasta a little on the firm side. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

Return pasta to pan, add lemon mixture and pasta water and toss well. Cover the pan for about 3-5 minutes and then toss again – this will help the pasta absorb the sauce.

Transfer pasta to bowls and top with a little freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with sliced basil leaves (and lemon zest if you reserved yours) and serve.

To add shrimp – I used 2 pounds of frozen, raw, 26-30 per pound, easy peel shrimp. Thaw them and peel them, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread out in a single layer on a heavy-duty pan. I also added about 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick, but this is optional. Place directly under the broiler for about 6-7 minutes. Toss shrimp and pan juices with prepared lemon pasta.

To add broccolini – steam for 4 minutes and then run under cold water to stop cooking. Chop on a diagonal in about 1-inch pieces. Toss with prepared lemon pasta.

Some other things that would be great with this: steamed asparagus, edamame beans, or snow peas.

Oh, and the lemon slices in the photo? I sliced them off before juicing my lemons and, using a pair of long tongs, lightly caramelized both sides of them over the open flame of my gas stove burner.

When all was said and done, I’m not going to lie – this dinner was divine. The extra effort was well worth the final result.

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